While many consumers purchase clothing and other retail items online, shopping centers and malls with physical storefronts still play a valuable role, offering in-person testing of products as well as quick purchasing options with no delivery wait time.
That’s why establishing long lasting lighting solutions for commercial shopping center lights is important – to shine a light on consumer goods, while also ensuring safety and general visibility both inside and outside of shopping spaces.
In this article, we will cover shopping center lighting in depth, with a focus on indoor and outdoor mall lighting product recommendations, the benefits of installing energy efficient LEDs in commercial shopping centers, and general best practices for mall lighting – including light colors and suggested brightness levels.
Using LED Lights for Shopping Malls
The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) agrees that LED lighting is the best choice for indoor and outdoor lighting at malls. LED lights are energy efficient, low maintenance, and reduce electric costs. Here are some examples of where LEDs can be installed on the interior and exterior of shopping plazas and complexes:
- LED light fixtures in parking lots, which are better for the environment as they emit low heat and and are more durable in outdoor climates, plus they are damage resistant
- LED lights throughout the interior of malls may look different, depending on the type of store inside a mall – this will help determine how many lumens and the light color temperature that best accents a store’s products; for example, warm lighting inside retail clothing stores give a more calming effect while trying on clothing. However, no matter the atmosphere, reducing energy use, replacement frequency, and cost with low maintenance LED lights is the optimal solution
- Installing High resolution LED lighting displays inside of malls, such as mall maps and digital holiday displays, gives customers an interactive experience in an energy efficient, cost effective way
Outdoor Shopping Center Light Poles
Shopping centers and malls typically use steel light poles, which are strong, non-corrosive, and come in different styles. The shape is typically chosen by shopping mall owners, who can decide between square steel light poles or round steel light poles.
Street poles with bannersare also commonly found in parking lots and off roads surrounding the exterior of shopping centers. Street pole banners usually advertise local institutions or events, seasonal functions, promote businesses, etc. These light poles come in a variety of different materials including steel, aluminum, and fiberglass. In order to attach the banners to these street poles, brackets must be used to secure the banner to the pole.
Pole height is another factor to consider. Parking lot light poles range from 12 - 20 feet in length. Street poles with banners vary in size; a 12-foot decorative pole will have different banner width and height requirements compared to a 16-foot residential street light pole. The actual banner size recommended is also dependent on the height of the pole.
Indoor Shopping Mall Lighting
Mall interior lighting designs often feature skylights, troffer lights, or panel lighting in hallways and inside of stores. Track lighting is also used inside retail shops to showcase items. Bathroom lighting is also another area of consideration inside malls. Restroom lights near mirrors and sinks, and canopy lights above bathroom stalls provide proper lighting.
Strip Mall Lighting
Strip mall lighting in front of stores and in shared parking lots are essential to providing proper lighting for employees and customers to get to and from their cars safely. Some examples of lighting installed at strip malls include: light fixtures mounted to the store’s exterior walls, square steel parking lot light poles, and strip mall signs. Strip mall signs use LED flood lights to illuminate the stores that are located within the shared parking lot, which provides a better navigation experience for the shopper.
Tone and Brightness Recommendations for Shopping Center Lighting
Indoor Lighting Suggestions
Research suggests that 9 to 22 lumens per light is the recommended strength for store lighting. A warmer light color temperature of 2000K - 3500K helps the eyes to naturally adapt. Public restrooms in commercial mall spaces, for example, may have cool toned lighting if the design is intended to give the bathroom a clean look. Warm lights, on the other hand, are used in bathrooms to create a soft, calming user experience.
Outdoor Lighting Suggestions
When creating an outdoor lighting plan surrounding a shopping center, there are different styles of lights and different lumen brightness levels that could impact a shopping center's exterior. For example,700-1300 lumens is suggested for floodlights, primarily for security purposes. Parking lot lighting, on the other hand, depends on the height of the pole. For a 15-20 parking lot light pole, 12,000 - 18,000 lumens is suggested.
For outdoor lighting, 4,000K - 5,000K is the recommended color temperature. This is a natural white color that’s easy on the eyes while still bright enough to navigate to your car, and safely drive through the parking lot.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Types of Lighting are Used for Shopping Centers and Malls?
- Exterior building lighting
- Parking lot lighting
- Interior lighting
- Decorative outdoor lighting – such as LED globe or lantern light fixtures mounted to decorative poles, or LED bollard lights; these decorative styles can be used in outlet malls or on shopping mall exteriors along walking paths
How Can You Make the Most of a Shopping Center Lighting Design?
A shopping mall lighting design should include:
- The inclusion of light pole banners and other signage on the light poles themselves
- The ability to mount security cameras to poles – using tenon or bullhorn brackets – to promote the safety of employees and customers
- Decorative LED lighting to illuminate pathways surrounding mall entrances and exits
Why is Proper Lighting Inside and Outside of Malls So Important?
- Safety and Security: proper lighting equipment ensures the protection of mall visitors; in order to create a secure environment, lighting products such as flood light packs mounted to exterior building walls, and exit lights stationed at emergency exits are a necessity
- A well-lit mall interior showcases products and retail items in the best light possible
- Proper lighting helps operating and functionality for employees and customers alike, both inside and outside of shopping centers
What are Some Lighting Best Practices for Malls?
- Converting lighting fixtures from old methods, such as incandescent or fluorescent lights, to LED retrofits
- Sturdy, reliable light poles in parking lots
- Brackets for mounting security cameras and LED light fixtures to light poles
- LED lights inside bathrooms, hallways, entrance lobbies, elevators, and throughout stores
- Decorative lighting to enhance public curb appeal