Is it time to replace your Parking Lot lights?

What to know when replacing your Parking Lot Lights

In Wisconsin, where it seems to get dark at 4pm for half the year, keeping the parking lot lights on is critical for the safety of your employees, customers, or residents.  Dark parking lots due to burnt out lights or uneven coverage can lead to an increase in vandalism, additional vehicle accidents, and other dangerous situations. Not to mention the negative message it sends about your organization and your apparent neglect of such an important area.

High-intensity discharge (HID) fixtures have traditionally been the choice for parking lot lighting.  These high powered fixtures provide low-grade light, consume a large amount of electricity, are expensive to maintain, and are generally unpleasant to the eye.  As these HID fixtures continue to age, they become even more inefficient to own and operate.  Over the last decade, parking lot owners have started to “see the light” and are changing out these inefficient HID fixtures with high-efficiency LED parking lot light fixtures.

Is it time for you to consider an LED parking lot lighting retrofit project?  Here are 6 signs that it’s time to replace your parking lot lights:

  1. Burnt out lights: are your parking lot lights burning out frequently?  Dispatching a utility truck with a lift and a work crew is expensive, so if you find that your lights need frequent replacement, it’s time to consider replacing your current lights with LED parking lot pole lights that have an average life span of 50,000 hours (over 10 years).
  2. Uneven coverage – patches of darkness: have you taken a drive around your parking lot late at night to see if the light is evenly dispersed?  With today’s LED technology, we are able to create a lighting pattern that will adequately cover the entire lot without spilling light over to neighboring properties.
  3. High energy costs: HID fixtures and bulbs are expensive to operate.  Replacing them with high-efficiency LED lights can cut your utility cost by upwards of 50-75% and can result in a pay-back period for the LED upgrade of less than 5 years.
  4. Increases in crime/vandalism: As the parking lot owner you have a responsibility to protect (as best you can) the people who use your lot.  Dark areas in your lot due to burnt out lights or uneven coverage just invites vandalism and increases the likelihood that something bad could happen.  Don’t wait until it’s too late – consider an upgrade to LED lights today.
  5. High maintenance: as the HID fixtures continue to age, they require additional maintenance and repairs to keep them operational.  When you combine the cost of maintenance, replacement bulbs, and high energy costs, the decision to change over to LED fixtures becomes much easier to make.
  6. Eco-friendly alternative: LED lighting is a much more Eco-friendly option for your parking lot lights.  LED lights do not contain mercury, emit UV rays, and generate less light pollution than their HID counterparts.

At PKK Lighting, we can help your company evaluate your current parking lot lighting solution, the total costs of ownership (including the fixtures, electricity, maintenance, and repairs), and provide you with our recommendations and pricing options.

This post was originally published at


Remember Emergency Exit Lights during your LED Retrofit Project

LED Retrofit Project – don’t forget Emergency Lighting

If your company or organization is planning an LED Retrofit project to upgrade your lighting, you’ll need to insure that you consider emergency exit lights as part of your project.  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established requirements that all commercial buildings must have clear exit routes from any point within the building to a place of safety.  OSHA acknowledges and accepts the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) emergency exit lighting requirements as to levels of illumination and that the emergency lights must work for a minimum of 90 minutes in the event that normal power is interrupted.

The types of commercial buildings that need to have Emergency Lighting include any facility that allows the general public (e.g., Churches; Retail stores; Hospitals; Sport complexes), employees (e.g., factories; office buildings), or specific use buildings (e.g., apartment complexes).

As the building owner, you have four options for generating the backup power to keep the lights on:

  1. Emergency Power Generator
  2. Emergency Inverter
  3. Designated Emergency Lights
  4. Individual Emergency Backup Drivers

Emergency Power Generator: Generators are normally powered by natural gas, propane, or diesel fuel. The generator powers a motor that generates electricity for critical operations, like emergency lighting. Generators can be expensive (several thousand dollars), but can keep your building operational for several days, if needed.

Emergency Inverter: if you only need the emergency lights to work for a shorter period of time, you could use an emergency inverter, which is essentially a giant battery.  The inverter gets charged from the main power supply and becomes operational when the main power supply fails.  The inverter can power large sections of emergency lighting and many can handle LED lights.  Inverters can handle both interior and exterior emergency lighting.  Because inverters are powered by a battery, their lives are short, typically 90 minutes.

Emergency Lights: many companies install traditional emergency lighting, which consist of light fixtures with built-in batteries.  The fixtures are powered by the main power supply (when the power is on) and via the batteries when the power supply is interrupted.  Similar to inverters, 90 minutes is the average limit these fixtures will work when the power is out.  These lights have a smaller upfront cost as compared to purchasing a generator or Inverter, but will still meet OSHA and NFPA requirements.

Emergency Backup Drivers: the final option for providing power to your emergency lights are backup drivers or emergency ballasts. Note that these are specifically made for lights that already have a driver to regulate their power supply, so they won’t work for every application.  The emergency backup drivers/ballasts have a battery that powers the light when the main power supply goes out.

OSHA has provided a handy checklist so you can evaluate if your building complies with the NFPA Emergency Illumination Standards.

Contact the experienced lighting installation team at PKK Lighting and we can discuss your LED Retrofit project, emergency lighting needs and potential options.

This post was originally published at

Stop touching your light bulbs and save money

Labor is the 2nd biggest cost of owning and operating a light bulb

After electricity did you know that labor to change burned out lights is the next highest cost of owning a lighting system?  Up to 11% of your expense to operate a light fixture is comprised of the time it takes to maintain it!  There are a few simple things you can do to minimize time and labor costs and still keep your facility properly lit and productive:

  1. Think about group re-lamping.  Installing all new lamps at the same time means years of nearly maintenance free lighting.
  2. Change every lamp in a fixture when you touch it.  It takes the same amount of labor to change one lamp as it does 3 or 4.
  3. Clean the lens when you touch a fixture. Dirt accumulates on every surface of a light fixture which results in 10-15% light loss and increased heat retention. A simple wipe of the lens with clean water means brighter spaces, less heat, and happier employees.

PKK Lighting can help you anticipate and reduce your labor costs for lighting maintenance by setting up a scheduled inspection of your lighting system or, better yet, install all new lights and maintain them for a flat monthly fee.  Contact us today to discuss your commercial lighting needs.

This post was originally published at


How much does your light bulb really cost?

Before buying your next light bulb, know the true cost

Since the dawn of human history we, as a species, have been searching for the most effective and efficient way to push the darkness back.  There are a number of very interesting articles outlining the historical “cost” of lighting our habitats, houses, communes, and cities over the centuries.  Here’s a link to one:

The take-away from all the research is humanity now benefits from the lowest cost for artificial light in its short history.  It still costs us, though, and probably not in the way you think.

Breakdown of Total Cost of Operating a Light Bulb

By far the most expensive part of owning and operating artificial light today is electricity.  Up to 77% of the cost to keep the lights on is spent on the power supplied by your local utility.  It may also surprise you to learn the next most expensive part is the labor to install and change lights.  Around 11% of your cost to flip the switch is time and money spent on labor.  Here’s a breakdown of your total cost to own a lamp:

  1. Electricity for the lamp – 77%
  2. Labor – 11%
  3. Electricity for HVAC to offset heat generated – 8%
  4. Raw cost of the lamp, bulb, LED – 3%
  5. Recycling of burned out lamps – 1%

What does this all mean?  It’s better to spend more money on the highest quality and most energy efficient lamp up front.  Buying cheap usually means higher energy use, short life (higher labor costs), more heat (higher HVAC costs), and the need to spend another 3% sooner to replace an inferior product.

In 1971 our founder, Jim Driscoll, installed the first “energy saving” fluorescent lamp in the state of Wisconsin.  It was 3 times the price of the regular lamp.  However, it paid for itself in energy savings within 3 years and kept burning for another 2 years.  47 years later PKK Lighting is still helping customers save time and money by providing the best commercial lighting solutions.

When you are shopping for light bulbs for sale for your commercial light fixture and need a recommendation, contact PKK Lighting and we’ll be happy to assist you.

This post was originally published at


PKK Lighting 2017 Light Bulb Buying Guide – Part 2

2017 Light Bulb Buying Guide – Part 2

In our blog post PKK Lighting 2017 Lightbulb Buying Guide – Part 1, we provided a short history lesson about light bulbs and the transition from incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes to more energy efficient LED light bulbs.  In this post we will provide additional guidance as to some of the key features and functionality that are important considerations when purchasing LED light bulbs.

When you are in the market for an LED light bulb, there are a few things you need to be familiar with before you buy:

  • Shape – LED bulbs come in a range of shapes and sizes.
    • The standard shape (A19) is the most common shape and is used in table lamps and other general purpose applications.
    • Reflector bulbs emit light to a specific area and are generally used in track lighting, under cabinet installations, and ceiling fans.
    • Candle shaped LED bulbs are generally used in chandeliers or other decorative fixtures.
    • Globe shaped LED bulbs are typically used in bathroom vanities, pendant lighting, and other specialty fixtures.
  • Color – the color of the LED bulb is designated on the Lighting Facts label (see below). Warm colors are more yellow while cool colors are more blue. Color temperature is measured in units of Kelvin, ranging from Amber (warm) light at 2200K, to Daylight (cool) at 5000K-6000K, and many colors in between.
  • Brightness – the brightness for LED bulbs is measured in lumens. Here is a lumens to watts conversion table so you can determine which LED is right for the job.  Note that the wattage for LED bulbs is one-fourth that of the incandescent bulbs, which is where much of the energy savings comes from by converting to LED’s.  As an example, if you want the approximate light from a pair of 60W incandescent lights in your bathroom, you’d use a pair of 900 lumen LED bulbs that are 15W each.
Lumens Incandescent
light bulb
375 lm 25 W 6.23 W
600 lm 40 W 10 W
900 lm 60 W 15 W
1125 lm 75 W 18.75 W
1500 lm 100 W 25 W
2250 lm 150 W 37.5 W
3000 lm 200 W 50 W
  • Dimming – Many LED bulbs are not dimmable. Determine if the light fixture you are using requires specific types of replacement bulbs and if those bulbs need to have the dimming feature built in. Generally you’ll pay slightly more for the dimming feature, so if you don’t need it, save some money and buy non-dimmable LED’s.
  • Dimmable vs Warm Dimming – With incandescent lights, when you dim them the color of the light gets warmer (less harsh), a feature known as “warm dimming”. If you are looking for that feature with your replacement LED bulbs, you need to ensure that the fixture you are using will work with LED bulbs and that the bulbs you purchase have the warm dimming feature.
  • Wet or Dry Use – If your fixture/bulb will be subject to moisture (e.g., in a bathroom or outside), be sure to purchase light bulbs (and fixtures) that have been rated to work in a wet environment.
  • Use in a Fully Enclosed Fixture – if the bulb will be used in a fully enclosed light fixture, be sure the replacement bulb is rated for such use. A fully enclosed fixture can expose the bulb to much higher temperatures, and if the bulb isn’t rated for operating in that environment, the life of the bulb could be shortened dramatically.
  • Use in a Motion Sensor fixture – if the bulb is being used in a fixture that contains a motion sensor that automatically turns on the bulb when motion is detected (and shuts off after a period of non-activity), be sure the bulb is rated to work in that fixture.
  • Use in a photocell fixture – an energy saving photocell fixture turns lights on when it gets dark and turns them off when it’s daylight. Check with the manufacturer of the fixture to determine the proper replacement LED bulbs.

Other LED light bulb buying tips:

  • Read the Lighting Facts label – The Energy Labeling Rule requires light bulb manufacturers to give consumers key information in an easy-to-read format. The Lighting Facts label is modeled on the Nutrition Facts label on food packages. It provides shoppers with the information they need to buy the most energy-efficient bulb that meets their needs. The label includes a bulb’s brightness (in lumens), annual energy cost, expected life, light appearance (color), and wattage.
  • Energy Star – When you’ve identified the LED bulbs that meet your requirements as discussed above, select bulbs that are Energy Star qualified. These bulbs have met quality control standards for brightness, color, and energy consumption.

If you still have questions about the proper LED bulbs to buy, contact PKK lighting and we can help you determine which LED light bulbs for sale will work best for the fixture and intended use.

This post was originally published at


PKK Lighting 2017 Light Bulb Buying Guide – Part 1

Let PKK Lighting find the right Light Bulbs for your Business

PKK Lighting has been selling light bulbs to our commercial customers for many years and we are committed to providing that service well into the future.  As part of our commitment, we want to help educate our customers about the current light bulb market.  We want them to make informed choices about the light bulbs they purchase for their business or organization. This is the first in a series of posts to provide that education.

Buying light bulbs used to be easy.  When your old incandescent bulbs or fluorescent tubes burnt out, you could simply purchase replacements and install them quickly.  However, these bulbs and tubes were (and still are) very energy inefficient and were phased out (for the most part) and replaced.  They were first replaced by CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs) and then by LED (Light Emitting Diode) light bulbs.

Put simply, LEDs are electronic devices that are can be used throughout every space of office buildings, warehouses, grocery/department/convenience stores, and so on.  Manufacturers are adding cameras, sensors and even speakers to some LED fixtures to deliver more than just light.

Types of light bulbs we sell:

  • LED light bulbs: instantly brighten and have color ranges from warm yellow to cool blue and colors in between. Some LEDs are dimmable (be sure to check before you buy) and use less energy than CFLs, thus saving you money on your energy bills. LEDs are typically more expensive but prices continue to drop.
  • Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs: CFLs use about 75% less energy than the incandescent bulbs they replaced and last 7-10 times longer. Color ranges from warm yellow to cool blue, with colors in between.   They take longer to fully brighten, especially in frigid temperatures.  Most CFLs are not dimmable.  Also, CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, so be sure to recycle appropriately (or let PKK Lighting pick up your spent bulbs).
  • Halogen bulbs: instantly brighten and color is usually a cool white or blue, although you can get a color filter that improves the light but sacrifices some brightness. Halogens have a life span about the same as standard incandescents but use 25-30% less energy.

Regardless of which type of light bulb you need, PKK Lighting can be your one-stop-shop for all your light bulb needs, especially the hard to find light bulbs.  Contact us today and we can help you find the right bulb for the job.

This post was originally published at


Is it time for your organization or business to upgrade your lighting to LED?

If it’s time for an LED upgrade, what type of fixture should you use, Integrated LED or LED Ready?

Integrated LED Fixtures: These LED fixtures may resemble LED ready fixtures, but the similarities end there.  Integrated LED fixtures come complete with the LED arrays already built into the fixture.  They are designed to provide a specific color and Lumen output and they do not have typical “bulbs” that can be replaced.  Integrated LED fixtures typically last for many years, often a decade or more.  When they do burn out, rather than shopping for a replacement LED bulb, customers will order a new LED array, or module.  However, with the advancements in LED technology we would encourage businesses to evaluate changing out their LED fixtures for more cost effective and updated functionality.

LED Ready fixtures: these fixtures are designed to use LED bulbs and typically are sold without the bulbs.  A primary benefit of the LED ready fixtures is that customers can select the appropriate bulb for their needs as long as the bulb is the right shape, size and wattage.  The initial installation of the fixtures is comparable to the Integrated fixtures, but replacing the bulb when it burns out is easier than replacing the LED array or module on the integrated fixture.

Which type of LED fixture is right for your commercial lighting need?

  1. Is this a new installation or do you have existing fixtures? If you have existing fixtures and they are in need of significant repairs, it might make economic sense to replace them with integrated LED fixtures.
  2. Do the fixtures comply with local building code requirements? Be sure to evaluate whether your new fixtures comply with local building codes before buying them. If you’re not sure, check with a lighting consultant.
  3. What are the lifetime costs for the fixtures? There are many cost factors that enter into the lifetime costs of your LED light fixtures, including the original purchase, installation, ongoing maintenance, and energy costs. Be sure to consider all of the costs before making your decision to buy.

Contact the friendly team at PKK Lighting and we can discuss your next commercial lighting project and provide you with suggestions and recommendations.

This post was originally published at