Lighting Fixtures For Commercial Warehouses

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By Kimberly Quang

Commercial warehouse lighting must take a number of factors into account to be truly cost effective and functionally supportive of operations and labor. Foremost on the list of consideration is lighting levels. Visibility is necessary to both ensure smooth process flow and worker safety. In commercial warehouse lighting, brightness should be directly proportional to the activity within an area.

Most lighting in commercial warehouses requires equal attention to vertical as well as horizontal foot candle densities because both workers and equipment may be moving supplies either vertically up ramps or horizontally across floor space. It also helps to be able to control the level of lighting in a commercial warehouse in order to maximize energy efficiency. The type of lights you chose for your warehouse is also very important. Some types of light render color more effectively than others, and operations such as assembly line work often require a color rendering index (CRI) of close to 100 (CRI of daylight).

Commercial warehouse lights are often called high bay lights or low bay lights because they hang from the ceiling of a facility. Bay lights can be High Pressure Sodium, Metal Halide, or Fluorescent lamps. Newer MH lighting fixtures have recently emerged in the market, along with a number of T5 and T8, and parabolic commercial warehouse lights we will examine in greater detail at a later date. For the meantime, the advantages and drawbacks of each type of commercial warehouse lighting fixture is itemized below, along with some suggestions on how each can be most effectively used by an industrial organization.

Types of HID High Bay Lighting:

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High Pressure Sodium

High Pressure Sodium fixtures were the preferred form of lighting in commercial warehouses for many years. Not only did they offer the highest lumens per watt efficiency, they also featured the longest lamp life (approximately 25,000 hours). This offers companies looking to weather the recession cost effectively the advantage of a onetime equipment purchase that wont deteriorate or need constant replacement. Although many people find the yellowish light they produce annoying, they are still used extensively in areas where color rendering is not important. RLLD Commercial Lightings selection of high bay HPS lights feature a wide range of wattages and ballast options to accommodate warehouses of all sizes.

Metal Halide

Most people doing assembly line work prefer to work under the bright white light of Metal Halide commercial warehouse lights. The CRI of an MH lamp is much higher than that of high pressure sodium. In the past many organizations found them too expensive, however, as a long term investment. Lamp life tends to be only 7,500 hours or so, making frequent replacements inevitable. Also, lumens per watt efficiency tended to be significantly lower than HPS fixtures, making MH more costly to operate.

Recent developments in technology have changed this to a certain extent. Pulse start MH high bays feature up to 110 lumens per watt efficiencynot quite as high as HPS, but certainly bright enough to provide a well-lit vertical cube and effective downlighting over horizontal work areas. They also feature longer lamp life and are rapidly gaining popularity as a recession proof source of high quality lighting in areas that require color definition and brightness.

Fluorescent High Bays

Fluorescent high bay warehouse lights burn significantly cooler than HID fixtures. In plants where the air tends florescent warehouse lights can lower HVAC costs. Fluorescent fixtures also render colors more effectively than HID light sources, and they use far less power than HID fixtures. For example, a 35watt fluorescent high bay can produce equivalent lighting levels to a 400 watt HID fixture. Although the light is less controllable and intense, it tends to be more evenly distributed. Fluorescent commercial warehouse lights are ideal for lighting large areas of floor space where heavy traffic requires clear visibility without glare or shadow.

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