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Whitehead & Associates Assist KIA Dealership to Go Green


KIA dealership owner Monroe Lee knew he wanted his new KIA AutoSport dealership in Columbus, Georgia, to be environmentally friendly. He was already familiar with how to do this based on his KIA AutoSport dealerships in Pensacola and Tallahassee, Florida. One way was to reduce the energy consumption of one of the largest energy users at a retail facility – outdoor lighting. However, he also understood that good outdoor lighting is necessary to highlight vehicle inventory on the lot.Kia Autosport_Columbus GA_parking lot LED -West-1024x681

A team of experts came together to help Lee with his green project. The project was a team effort between KIA, Whitehead & Associates, a lighting product company, and Georgia Power’s Outdoor Lighting Services.  LED lighting was proposed by Georgia Power because of its capability of providing both energy savings and the quantity and quality of light necessary to exhibit Lee’s 350 vehicle inventory.

Monroe Lee, Owner, and Ed Braun, General Manager, of the new KIA AutoSport, located in Columbus explained how a big part of the facility design came down to lighting.

“We really want to build an environmentally friendly facility. By reducing our energy consumption, and still providing a well-lit feel, we can do our part to reduce emissions by going LED. Also, the investment in LED is easier when partnering with a trusted name like Georgia Power,” said Lee.

The LED area light fixtures, sold and installed by Georgia Power’s Lighting Services, are expected to save the dealership more than $1,400 a month in energy consumption.

Tim Morris, Whitehead & Associates and Theresa Railey, Georgia Power Lighting Services, agree that a project of this magnitude requires specific aesthetics attention. Uniformity is the key to a good lighting installation. Lighting designs with excellent uniformity can overcome the traditional idea of applying more powerful light fixtures. Automotive dealerships especially need their lighting system to highlight inventory. Until recently, this has been accomplished by using many 1000 watt metal halide fixtures throughout the display lots. Today’s LEDs along with the ability to control the light, has provided an efficient source of evenly distributed light.


Whitehead & Associates developed the lighting design for the new dealership site using LED fixtures. Sixty-nine light fixtures and thirty 25 ft. poles were strategically placed to provide optimum coverage while minimizing the number of poles needed in the vehicle display area. The LED fixture mounting is a mix of one, two, and four fixtures per pole.Kia-West-Lot-1-1024x679

In this case, KIA has chosen a design using 202-watt area light fixtures with a uniformity of 3.5:1 averaging 6.5 foot-candles. A conventional design would average 30 to 50 foot-candles with a 6:1 to 10:1 uniformity. The improved uniformity LED offers is perceived by the human eye to be equal to the light output of the 1000-watt designs. The end result is a well-designed lighting system and reduced energy demand from 51 kilowatts to 14 kilowatts.

The LED area light fixtures selected offer a sleek, modern look available in 34 photometric combinations and two color temperatures. Further, this particular light’s design produces superior vertical illuminance and efficiently directs the light onto the desired surface. This is a big win for a business like KIA where one can achieve the right kind of display and reduce operating costs.

Fast Facts

  • Sixty-nine 202-watt fixtures = 13,938 watts
  • 6.5 average foot candles vs. typical HID of 30 to 50 foot candles
  • 3.5:1 uniformity ratio vs. typical HID of 6:1 to 10:1 ratio
  • Significant reduction in energy usage related to outdoor lighting compared to HID
  • Instant on with no warm-up time
  • LED offers directional lighting
  • Dark-sky friendly
  • Improved lighting uniformity eliminating dark spots and hot spots
  • Vehicle representation such as color is greatly improved
  • Reduced maintenance costs due to long fixture life
  • Environmentally friendly with lower greenhouse gas emissions and no hazardous materials to recycle

Supports the National Automobile Dealer Association’s (NADA) Energy Stewardship program