Making A Better Parking Garage

By: Jill Cordes
By: Jill Cordes

Nobody loves a parking structure. But new technology on the way can keep those lots safe and cut electricity use. And you'll still be able to find your parking space.

There are about 20 million parking lot lights nationwide. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, only about 1 in 25 of those lights is an energy-efficient fluorescent fixture.

What's worse, the vast majority of multi-level parking garages stay brightly lit 24 hours a day. Not very efficient if there are no cars around. Now, new sensors can cut light levels in half when no one is there. When there's movement in the lot, they switch to full lighting levels. Researchers at the University of California at Davis are developing the technology. They believe that the motion sensors will actually enhance security by drawing attention to movement within the parking structure.

Another growing innovation? Tiny light indicators above individual parking stalls. Green lights tell you where the empty spaces are. That means less time - and gas - spent hunting for that free spot.

I'm Jill Cordes reporting. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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