New lights brighten up parking garage

New energy-efficient lighting is casting brighter light in a city-owned parking structure at the Santa Maria Town Center.
The $558,720 project replaces high-pressure sodium lighting fixtures with energy-efficient induction lighting in the A parking building, an 1,800-space parking garage between Cook and Miller streets. The new lighting is intended to enhance visibility for mall shoppers, employees, and other users of the three-level facility.

Almost all of the old lights on the lower level of the parking structure have been replaced, said Shad Springer, the citys principal civil engineer. More new lights are being installed on the remaining two levels, the city said. On the third level, which is the roof, lights will be placed on 20 light towers.

The new induction lights emit a more natural white light while using less electricity, although there are more lighting fixtures, the city said. The new lights, which also have a longer life expectancy, require only

85 watts each compared to 150 watts for the older lights, which cast an amber color. In the long term, the lighting will reduce operating costs, the city said.

A new lighting controller also is being installed to allow for more efficient programming of the lights, officials said.

In July, the City Council unanimously awarded the project contract to Santa Maria Electric. The bid, one of 11, was $238,280 under the engineers estimate of $797,000.

Funding is from the federal economic stimulus energy-efficiency program.

Mall owner Greg Kozak said the new lighting is a win for all parties involved as the city will benefit from energy-cost savings, the community will feel safer in the structure, and the mall will also gain from the secure environment.

Kozak said he is impressed with the new lights, which he described as phenomenal

It looks better than I could have dreamed, he said.

Planning by his mall team to replace the lights began about a year and a half ago without city input at first, Kozak said. However, with city support and federal funding, the project became reality, he said.

Over the years, light fixtures had been removed for cost-savings and the older lights had yellowed, creating a dim appearance in the municipally owned structure, he said.
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