As energy efficiency and environmental footprints become more and more regulatory, finding a compliant light source for your warehouse is essential. But how do you know which fixtures are right for your warehouse? With hundreds of options, this very question can be more overwhelming than you would think. Below, the experts with Action Services Group help explain current warehouse lighting products, as well as what considerations can impact your fixture choices.
Warehouse Lighting Options
Traditionally, there are three different options for warehouse lighting. These include high intensity discharge, fluorescent, and light emitting diode (LED) lighting.
High Intensity Discharge Lighting
High intensity discharge, or HID, lamps were thought to be the best source of lighting for warehouses since the 1970s. In fact, because many older facilities have HID fixtures, these are still a popular choice today. Pros: HID lamps do have the lowest initial cost. Cons: However, HID lamps are the least energy efficient option. They have the highest rate of lumen depreciation, meaning their lifespan is much shorter than the alternatives. They also have fewer color temperature options. For example, high pressure sodium HID lamps appear more yellow, with a color temperature change limited to 2200 Kelvins (K) to 2400K. Metal halide HID lamps, on the other hand, are whiter, with a range between 4000K to 4500K. Furthermore, HID lamps require a warmup period before they reach full illumination capabilities. They also require a cool down period before they can be turned back on. Therefore, if you have a temporary power surge, your lights may take at least 15 minutes to return to optimal illumination.
Fluorescent lighting is another older option found in many pre-existing structures. However, it can also be found in some newer constructed facilities as well. Pros: Fluorescent lighting is another option for those on a strict budget. They are also more energy efficient than their HID counterparts. Furthermore, fluorescent lamps come in a larger range of color temperatures than comparable HID options. From 2700K to 6500K, fluorescent lamps range from yellow to brighter white and come in a range of different shapes and sizes. This offers you more flexibility than HID lighting while still saving more money on your power consumption. Cons: Fluorescent lamps, however, have temperature constraints not often associated with HID lighting. In fact, fluorescent lighting tends to struggle or fatigue faster in extreme cold or heat, making them less than ideal in many of the climates here in the US. In addition to this, fluorescent lamps reach their life limits faster as they are turned on an off. That means power surges, and simply daily operations can result in increased maintenance and replacement costs.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) Lighting
Light emitting diode (LED) lighting, on the other hand, is becoming the industry standard. Not only can LED warehouse lighting help meet with energy regulations, but they also have much more to offer. Pros: LED lighting is renowned for being the most energy efficient option today. In fact, they not only use less energy, but they do so while emitting better illumination then both the HID and fluorescent options. LED lights are more durable, often lasting up to 100,000 hours. This means you can reduce maintenance costs, replacing them far less often. LEDs are known to handle extreme temperatures very well. Cons: Older buildings will likely require retrofits to use LED warehouse products. However, it should be noted that the energy savings accrued in doing so can compensate for the retrofit within a year or two in many locations.
Additional Benefits! For those considering a warehouse lighting retrofit, there are considerable rebates and tax deduction currently available. You can read more about the Section 179D tax deductions here.
Warehouse Lighting Considerations
Before you invest in any type of warehouse lighting products, there are several items that must be considered. These include brightness, color temperatures, light distribution, fixture spacing, controls, and environmental impacts. Let us take a look at how each of these can affect your warehouse lighting choice.
You may not realize this, but the paint used on your walls or ceilings can affect the brightness of your warehouse lighting fixtures. Lighter paints are more reflective than darker colors. This means you can opt for lower lumen lamps and still fully illuminated the intended space. Lower lumens mean less power consumption, saving you money. Sky lights can also assist with lighting a space. However, if your facility has skylights, you should wire fixtures to separate switches. This allows you to turn on some lights while the skylights assist with lighting, or all lights during overcast days or at night. This, again, will help save you money on power consumption. Be careful. Depending on the activities below, lights that are too bright can cause glare. This should be avoided as it can cause eye irritation, headaches, and unsafe conditions for occupants. (An experienced professional can help recommend the right products for the activities being performed in each space.)
Color temperature is more important than you may realize as it directly impacts visibility. For warehouses, it is recommended that color temperatures between 4000K and 5000K are used. Studies have proven that this range, which scales between bright white and a blueish tint, reduces eyestrain and maintains an ideal and productive workspace.
Most warehouses need either an I- or V-type of light distribution. Layouts, including shape, size and equipment, affect which lighting distribution pattern is best for each facility. For example, warehouse spaces with tall shelving will typically need an I-type distribution. This provides long, narrow lighting that illuminates the spaces above and between the shelving. For open floor plans, a V-type distribution is recommended. This spread the illumination evenly over the open spaces below.
Fixture spacing must also be considered. Each type of fixture has its limit on how far adequate lighting will reach. Lighting that is positioned too close will increase the likelihood of hotspots and glare. This is caused when the lighting limits are overlapping below. Lighting that is spaced too far apart, however, will result in dark spots, or gaps in your illumination.
Lighting Control Systems
Linking your warehouse lighting fixtures to various lighting controls can help increase energy efficiency. Occupancy or vacancy sensors are the most commonly used. (In fact, either of these types of motion sensors can reduce energy consumption by up to 30% alone and require little to incorporate.) However, there are plenty of other options to consider. (Speaking with a reputable professional can ensure you have the right equipment installed to support the needs of your specific warehouse.)
We have an entire series of articles on lighting controls. You can learn more in the below articles.
As mentioned above, the climate can affect which warehouse lighting products will work best for you. Because of this, it is very important to take environmental exposure into account before investing in a light source for your warehouse. Rust, corrosion, and decreasing lumens are just a few of the damages the environment can cause. An expert can not only help you identify the right lighting, they can also help with mitigation factors that can reduce potential damages.
LED Warehouse Lighting Products
The benefits of LED warehouse lighting far exceed those of their HID and fluorescent counterparts. They come in a range of sizes and styles to fit any warehouse needs. While there are hundreds of different options available, the four most commonly used LED warehouse products include high bay, low bay, linear strip and recessed troffer fixtures.
High Bay Fixtures
For warehouses with ceilings that are 25 feet or higher, high bay LED fixtures are recommended. Older warehouses may have metal halide or fluorescent lamps installed in similar fixtures. However, LED warehouse fixtures will not only outperform and outlast these products, but they will also provide better lighting while significantly reducing energy consumption. High bay LED warehouse lighting products can be used to illuminate horizontal and vertical spaces; reflectors can also be used with these products to reduce glare or redirect light.
Low Bay Fixtures
Ceiling or mounting heights that are below 25 feet could benefit from the use of low bay LED warehouse lighting fixtures. Under 25 feet, the use of a high bay fixture will not distribute light appropriate and may lead to glare or gaps in lighting. As with the high bay models, low bay fixtures were once used with metal halide or fluorescent lamps. But, as with the high bay versions, LED low bay fixtures again provide benefits that exceed these outdated technologies.
For more information on both high bay and low bay fixtures and the benefits of converting to LED, check out our Lighting and LED Product Education Center. You will find an in-depth review of the benefits of an LED retrofit.
Linear Strip LED Fixtures
For grocery and department stores, linear strip LED fixtures are highly recommended. They have a smaller footprint than their low or high bay counterparts and provide a sleeker, more refined look. Linear strip LED fixtures can replace T12 or T8 fluorescent lighting that was once the more traditional option. As with all LED lamps, the linear strip LED warehouse products significantly reduce energy consumption.
Recessed Troffer LED Fixtures
Troffer lighting comes in three standard sizes. These are: 11’ x 4’, 2’ x 2’ and 2’ x 4’. Mounting options included surface, pendant or chain-hung fixtures. As with the linear strip fixtures, T12 or T8 fluorescent lamps used to be the only option. As such, each fixture used between 2 and 4 fluorescent lamps. To upgrade to an LED fixture, you can invest in all new fixtures or LED linear tube retrofits. (The right option for you will depend on the fixtures already installed.)
To learn more about troffer lighting and converting to LED, we highly suggest checking out our Lighting and LED Product Education Center. You will find an in-depth review of the benefits of a troffer LED retrofit.
LED Warehouse Lighting with Action Services Group
Choosing the right warehouse lighting products for your facility does not have to be hard. As experts in LED lighting, the professionals with Action Services Group are here to ensure all considerations are taken into account before recommending warehouse lighting fixtures that will best compliment your space. Contact Action Services Group today to learn more about LED warehouse lighting and warehouse lighting products. Call 610-558-9773 or email [email protected].