In Christiansburg, Virginia, Shelor Motor Mile auto mall wants to sell vehicles even after its sales team goes home. “We have car lots on either side of a major highway at an interstate interchange, with restaurants, service stations, a motel and another auto dealership nearby,” said John Jordan, Energy Manager for Shelor Motor Mile. “Cars on our lots must have curb appeal in order to attract drive-by and drive-on shoppers after dark.”
Shelor’s 70 acres were previously illuminated by 400-watt shoebox-type metal halide fixtures installed on 30-foot square-shaped steel poles. The dealership retrofitted the high intensity discharge (HID) system with Autobahn LED luminaires from American Electric Lighting® (AEL) to boost illumination levels and improve lighting uniformity.
“One of our dealerships adjoins a fast food restaurant that has very high light levels in its parking lot,” Jordan said. “Our lower-intensity lighting created a ‘dark island’ effect for the dealership, and if drivers didn’t look to the right as they drove by, they could miss that car lot entirely.”
Jordan selected Autobahn luminaires based on pricing and a relationship with the AEL representative, who previously designed the lighting system for Shelor’s Toyota dealership. Each Autobahn LED luminaire has 80 LEDs and draws 280 watts of power compared to the 470 watts each metal halide luminaire drew.
Shelor installed a total of 160 Autobahn LED luminaires, replacing the metal halide fixtures one-for-one in some areas, with two, three or four luminaires installed per pole as needed, depeding on the location.
Illumination levels are 11 footcandles in Shelor’s front rows with a maximum
to minimum ratio of 1.6 to 1. The dealership entrance is 5 footcandles and interior rows range from 3 to 10 footcandles, depending on the location. The LED luminaires’ CRI is 70 to showcase the vehicles’ true colors.
“The lots are much brighter and the lighting creates a better environment for selling vehicles at night,” Jordan said. “Many sales occur after the sun goes down—especially in the winter.”
Autobahn fixtures are illuminated until 1 a.m. and controlled by a clock. Shelor will maintain the fixtures, with the Autobahn luminaires expected to operate 100,000 hours—or more than 20 years in this application—without maintenance. The metal halide luminaires, in comparison, required maintenance every two to three years.
“The Autobahn LED system provides quality lighting with very little maintenance,” Jordan said. “Our sales people love it—they feel the lighting provides us a tremendous selling advantage.”
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