Until a few years ago, there was a huge misconception that LED lighting was not a good replacement for traditional metal halide lighting. While this was true back in the 1970s when LED technology was still in the early stages of development, it is no longer the case. Advancements in technology have finally gotten rid of this fallacy.
For very many years, the industrial sector heavily relied on metal halide technology for its lighting infrastructure. It had the ability to deliver enhanced levels of illumination and was much better at rendering colors than other traditional lighting sources. This is why it was widely regarded as sturdy and fit for purpose.
But the arrival of energy-efficient, reliable, and high-performance LED lighting meant that it was only a matter of time before metal halides were replaced. But as the saying goes, “old habits die hard”. It has taken longer than we all expected for widespread adoption of LED to occur.
But as LED technology has continued to spread its wings through residential and commercial spheres – and as the technology has become more efficient and easy to implement – the case for converting to LED has become more compelling. Over the last 3 years, the number of LED installations in industrial environments has gone up significantly. LED technology has finally “come of age” and is now the first choice for most contractors, facility managers, and commercial property owners.
But just how different is LED lighting from metal halide lighting? How much money will LEDs help you to save? How soon will you recoup your investment after you switch to LED lighting?
Since we know that all these questions are running through your mind, we have decided to tackle them all, and a few more, in this post.
Here are eight reasons why replacing metal halides with LEDs is the best option.
1. LED Lights Are More Efficient: They Have Better Lamp and Fixture Efficiency
First, let’s take a look at the lamp and fixture efficiency of a metal halide. A brand new 400-watt metal halide bulb has a color temperature of 4000K, a rated life of 20,000 hours, and its initial lumens are 32,000-36,000. While these figures are very impressive, a study carried out by The Dark Sky Society showed that the initial lumens of a 400-watt metal halide lamp are 20,500 and its rated life expectancy is around 15,000 hours.
But in order to prove our point, let us stick to the figures that are usually marketed. While a metal halide bulb has a very high light output initially, it loses its lumens very quickly. It is very common for a metal halide to lose 20% of its lumens in its first six months of use. This means that after 6 months, the lamp will be giving off 28,800 lumens. And since lumen depreciation for metal halide bulbs is very fast, when the bulb gets to half of its lifespan (around 10,000 hours) lumen depreciation may have gotten to 50%.
Another thing we need to consider is the operating nature of a metal halide bulb. Metal halides are high intensity discharge lamps and all HID lamps are omnidirectional. These lamps distribute light in every direction; they discharge light both vertically and horizontally. Since a lot of the light that is produced is wasted, reflectors are normally added to metal halide fixtures to gather the light and direct it where it is needed.
But the biggest problem with reflectors is that they are not very effective at capturing the light that bounces off them to the ground. Lumens that bounce off a reflector and back into the light fixture are lost. During the reflective process, up to 30% of lumens are lost.
So, if we were to calculate the number of lumens produced by a six-month-old metal halide bulb, we will get the following figure.
20% lumens lost after 6 months = 28,800 lumens.
Lumens lost during the reflective process = 8,640
The total number of lumens produced by the light fixture = 20,160
Our calculation does not take into account any shields or lenses that may have been used in the fixture. Anything added to a metal halide fixture that may get in the way of light being emitted to the ground can reduce the total lumen output.
LED lights are different
LED lights are built differently and produce light that is directional. All the light is focused where it is needed. There are no lumens to be reflected hence reflectors are not required. And while LEDs also experience lumen depreciation, their lumen depreciation rate is not as fast as that of HID lamps.
LEDs have the L70 rating, which means they retain 70% of their lumens for their whole lifetimes. Our new LED fixtures and retrofits retain 70% of their lumens for more than 100,000 hours. So, unlike metal halide lamps that do not produce bright light for very long, LEDs maintain most of their initial light output much longer.
2. They Have a Longer Lifespan
The average life expectancy of metal halide lamps is 20,000 hours. However, larger lamps, like 1000-watt metal halides, have a lower life expectancy – approximately 15,000 hours. When it comes to LED lighting, manufacturers use the L70 rating to define the life expectancy of their products.
The L70 rating indicates the period of time a LED will work for before it starts generating 70% of its initial lumens. This is because the human eye never notices a gradual reduction in light output. It only becomes aware that the light output has gone down when a bulb starts producing less than 70% of the lumens it produced originally.
For conventional lighting systems, the rated life refers to the time they operate for before burning out. But since LEDs do not burn out like traditional lights, the L70 rating is used to indicate how long it will take for them to drop 30% of their lumens. High-quality LED fixtures have an L70 rating of 100,000 hours.
Since metal halide lamps have a rated life of 20,000 hours, by the time high-quality LEDs get to the end of their lifespans, you may have replaced your metal halides 5 times or more.
3. Higher Luminous Efficacy
The luminous efficacy of a light source is what determines how much electricity it will save. In simple terms, luminous efficacy is the number of lumens a bulb generates for every watt of energy it pulls. To get the luminous efficacy, you can also divide the total lumens the lamp produces by the total watts it consumes. With this in mind, let us look at the luminous efficacy of a metal halide lamp versus that of a LED lamp.
A 400-watt metal halide bulb consumes about 455 watts of electricity. But metal halides cannot work without ballasts – and ballasts also draw a small amount of electricity (approximately 15%).
The luminous efficacy of a 400-watt metal halide bulb is: 36,000 lumens divided by 455 watts = 79.12 lumens per watt. This is assuming the metal halide produces 36,000 lumens, which is not the case.
A 150-watt retrofit unit sold by The Lighting Center generates 23,250 lumens. 23,250 lumens divided by 150 watts = 155 lumens per watt.
Just by looking at the figures, it’s clear that a LED lamp is more efficient than a metal halide. And when it comes to lighting, efficiency is the most important thing because efficient lights save you money.
4. More Energy Savings:
As we previously pointed out, a 400-watt metal halide lamp produces approximately 20,500 lumens. On the other hand, our 150-watt retrofit unit generates 23,250 lumens. But instead of consuming a massive 455 watts, it only uses 150 watts. If you replace the 400-watt metal halide lamps in your commercial application with these LED units, you will reduce energy consumption by 66% and also provide better illumination in the space.
But to be honest, we think our 150-watt LED lamps are too powerful to replace 400-watt metal halide lamps. The light they produce may be too much for your space. This is why we recommend replacing your 400W metal halides with our 100W retrofit units. Each 100-watt retrofit emits 15,500 lumens and makes a perfect replacement for a 400-watt metal halide.
If you’re still not convinced that lower-wattage LED lamps can replace higher-wattage conventional lamps, here’s some news that may help you to make up your mind about converting to LED. As metal halides get old and lose most of their lumens, their electricity consumption never goes down. As a matter of fact, they consume the same watts they consumed initially and do so up to the end of their lives.
5. Better Light Quality
When a light expert measures light using a light meter, they get the readings in lumens. And when they take a measurement of all the light sources that contribute to the light in the specific location, the reading is in foot candles. But first, let us consider the light being measured. Metal halide lamps generate light in all spectrums – both visible and invisible.
Visible light is the light that can be seen by the human eye while invisible light includes infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) spectrums. LED lamps that are designed for humans do not produce light in IR and UV spectrums, because this light is not useful to humans.
This means that a light meter only picks up the visible spectrum of LED light. While a light meter may show that the area illuminated by a metal halide lamp has more foot candles, the reason is because it also measures the invisible light spectrum.
Additionally, LEDs have better-quality light because they have a higher color rendering index. When you install light sources with a higher color rendering index, you will need fewer fixtures because the quality of the light will be better. And while the color rendering index of metal halides is much better than that of other traditional light fixtures (such as high pressure sodium lamps), they do not render colors as well as LEDs.
6. They Lower Light Maintenance Costs
Another way LEDs help you to save money is by decreasing light maintenance costs. As we earlier said, metal halide lamps do not have a long lifespan and have a very quick rate of lumen depreciation. They have to be replaced every now and then. When used in large commercial applications, they have to be replaced in groups as changing out single bulbs can be very expensive.
The higher the bulbs are installed, the higher the cost of replacement will be. And if your commercial application is filled with lights, you may spend a lot of money every year replacing burnt out bulbs. Since LEDs have a very long lifespan, you won’t have to spend money on new bulbs every now and then or pay electricians to replace spoilt light fixtures. If you have in-house electricians, they won’t spend a lot of time fixing or changing out bulbs. They can spend this time carrying out tasks that boost the company’s bottom line – like fixing machines that bring the company money.
7. Scotopic vs. Photopic Lumens
Light sources usually produce two types of lumens: scotopic and photopic lumens. Scotopic lumens are the lumens that can be seen by the human eye while photopic lumens are not visible to the eye. A device that is very similar to a camera is normally used to measure photopic lumens.
For a long time, light experts only measured photopic lumens. The thing is, they never considered the fact that human eyes see light differently than man-made gadgets, or that the light emitted by an artificial light source can appear different during the day and during the night. But because of technological advancements, there are now two methods of labeling lumens.
In order to determine the visible light (scotopic lumens) a light source produces, a correction factor is normally applied to photopic lumen readings. This factor was created by scientists to provide common ground between different light sources. This is because different bulbs with the same photopic lumen readings can have varying visible light output.
The correction factor usually alters the value of the lumens upwards or downwards from the stated photopic lumens. The lumen quantity for most high intensity discharge lights (including metal halides) is usually reduced by the correction factor. But the case is different for LED lights; the factor increases the lumen quantity by 1.7 or more. This means that the scotopic lumens produced by LEDs are more than those produced by metal halides.
Why are utility companies always trying to convince their customers to switch to LED technology? It’s all about economics for them. The demand for electricity is constantly increasing, so once a utility reaches its capacity, it can choose one of two options: to build more capacity or to lower the demand for electricity. No doubt about it, lowering demand is way more cost-efficient than increasing capacity.
For this reason, utility companies normally give out rebates to businesses and companies that switch to LED. Your utility company knows that if you replace your current metal halide lamps with LEDs, your demand for electricity will go down. While each utility runs its own rebate program there are two similar processes and guidelines.
The rebates given by utility companies help reduce the initial cost of purchase and help you to recoup your investment in a short period of time. Not a single utility company gives rebates for metal halide lamps.
Should You Buy New LED Fixtures or Retrofit Units?
Now that we have explained why LEDs are much better than metal halides, we’re sure you’re thinking of switching to LED technology. However, you have one more decision to make: whether you’ll install new LED fixtures or retrofit your existing light fixtures. The choice you make will ultimately determine how much you spend.
New LED fixtures are more expensive than retrofit units and may take time to be installed in your property. If your existing light fixtures are in good condition, we recommend retrofitting as it won’t disrupt your business operations and the process only takes a short time. Well-built retrofits work just as well as new fixtures. Why not make the switch today?
As the old adage goes, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” However, in the United States, the food and beverage industry is tightly controlled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In other countries around the world, similar regulatory agencies regulate the food and beverage industry.
To ensure sanitary conditions are always maintained, all appliances and equipment used in food and beverage facilities – including lighting – must adhere to strict manufacturing standards set by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF International). Food and beverage plants require lighting fixtures that must function optimally under hygienic and even hazardous conditions.
The compliance standards that apply to a specific food and beverage facility and the lighting fixtures used usually depend on the specific facility. Food production facilities, food processing facilities, food storage facilities, and food preparation facilities all require different types of lighting fixtures.
These plants have different lighting needs from industrial spaces like warehouses and manufacturing plants. For example, the lighting fixtures used in food processing areas must be able to withstand airborne dust, water, steam, grime, oils, mists, effluents, and other contaminants.
The Stringent Standards in the Food and Beverage Industry
NSF International has set strict standards that are based on a location’s condition and the extent of contact with food procedures. The NSF standard that relates to food and beverage lighting products is referred to as NSF/ANSI Standard 2, or just NSF 2.
It categorizes food facilities into 3 zonal groups: Food Zones, Non-Food Zones, and Splash Zones. Each zone represents specific surroundings which include locations where there isn’t any direct contact with food produce (like food storage areas), locations where there is direct contact with food, and wet-processing locations, those that need high pressure wash downs.
NSF International also requires that food and beverage plants use light fixtures with IP65 or IP66 Ingress Protection ratings. The luminaires must also have UL damp location or UL wet location ratings. Vapor-tight lighting fixtures must be used in hazardous locations (for instance, Class 1 Division 1 and Class 1 Division 2). The fixtures should also be cleanroom-rated.
Some food and beverage plants normally use the lighting fixtures that are found in other industrial settings. However, the fixtures used in these spaces must perform optimally under sanitary and even dangerous conditions. The types of lighting products used and the compliance standards that are applicable usually depend on the environment of a particular area – because food plants usually house different environments under one roof.
A food facility might have locations for processing, staging, warehousing, cold or dry storage, distribution, offices, restrooms, lobbies, hallways, cleanrooms, and a lot more. Each of these has its own lighting requirements.
Lighting products never come into direct contact with food, so only the NSF regulations for Splash Zones and Non-Food Zones usually apply to them. LED lighting manufacturers who would like to obtain NSF-2 certification for their lighting products must make sure that the products’ design, their materials, and the manufacturing processes used comply with the NSF standards for the relevant zone.
Some food plants, such as grain processing facilities, have areas with flammable gases or dust that can cause dangerous situations. In these locations, lighting products should fall under Class 2 Division 1 or 2 and group G.
LED Technology Meets All Stringent Standards of the Food Industry
Light-emitting diodes have unique properties that make them highly suitable for different operations in the food industry. They include:
Because of the way they are constructed, they may decrease degradation and thermal damage in foods and are suitable for cold storage applications. Recent research has shown that LEDs can preserve or even improve the nutritive quality of food in the postharvest stage and reduce fungal infections.
LED lights can be used together with photocatalysts or photosensitizes to inactivate pathogenic bacteria in food. Ultraviolet LEDs – which were introduced to the market not very long ago – can efficiently inactivate pathogens and preserve the freshness of food in postharvest stages.
High intensity discharge lights (such as high pressure sodium, metal halide, and xenon lamps) and fluorescent lamps have been popular lighting sources in food production and preservation facilities. However, these lighting systems have broad spectral power distribution and give off a lot of heat.
To control the temperature in various applications, such as food processing plants and food storage facilities, more energy is needed to remove the excess heat they produce. In addition, low pressure mercury lamps and fluorescent lights contain mercury and must be handled with utmost care to prevent damage and leakage of the toxic metal.
Light-emitting diodes are solid state lighting devices that produce light with wavelengths of narrow bandwidths, low thermal output, and high photoelectric efficiency. They are portable and compact and can be easily incorporated into electronic systems. As we earlier mentioned, LEDs have unique properties that make for the convenient manipulation of the luminous intensity, temporal settings, and spectral characteristics of the light produced.
In the 1970s, when LEDs were still in the early stages of development, they had very low power and were mostly used as indicator lamps. But as LED technology rapidly developed, new semiconductor materials were integrated, optics were improved, and enhanced techniques of thermal dissipation were implemented. Because of this, LEDs became universal and are widely used in different applications.
LEDs have low radiant heat emissions and their efficiency improves at lower temperatures, which makes them perfect for food storage facilities. Because food safety is a major concern in the food industry at all stages (production, processing, storage, and preparation), LEDs are used in these applications to ensure that food is not contaminated and is safe for consumption.
Thanks to their long life expectancy and their compactness and robustness, LEDs are a very economical technology to adopt. And as the technology continues to advance, LEDs become more efficient and cheaper. It is expected that more companies in the food and beverage industry will convert to LED because of the benefits it offers to food and also for compliance purposes.
Complying with Food Safety Standards
The great thing about LEDs is that they comply with the strict requirements that are set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and The Food and Drug Administration. The FDA defines adequate lighting in food manufacturing facilities as.
Meat, poultry, and dairy processing plants that want to comply with the USDA regulations for inspections must follow specific illumination criteria. The lighting guidelines stipulate:
The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) has specific illumination levels for different food processing areas. For example, the illumination levels for food examination areas range between 30 to 1,000 foot candles, depending on the intricacy of the process. Locations for color grading must have a minimum of 150 foot candles, while packing areas need a minimum of 30 foot candles.
These are some of the requirements that businesses must observe if they want to adhere to the Food and Drug Administration’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices. The guidelines also stipulate that lights in facilities where food is present must be coated, shielded, covered, or provide shatterproof protection.
The Application of LEDs in Food Safety
The food industry depends on powerful lighting systems to enhance productivity and safety in the workplace. Food processing, manufacturing, and retail establishments are shifting from traditional lighting systems (such as high intensity discharge lights and fluorescent lamps) to light emitting diode products. This is because LED technology is able to meet the strict food safety guidelines set by the regulatory bodies in place.
According to research, by 2020, the adoption of LED technology in the food industry will reach $80 billion annually. The food plants that are currently leading in the adoption of LED technology are food processing and manufacturing facilities, because LEDs provide solutions to the complex and challenging working conditions in these environments.
The successful application of LEDs in food processing and manufacturing facilities usually depends on the types of fixtures used. Explosion proof LED lights must be used in facilities that deal with explosive dust and gases. The units must comply with the guidelines set by the National Electric Code. In case of an explosion, explosion proof LEDs contain the activity and ensure it does not spread.
Operators inspecting storage tanks and confined spaces should use LED drop lights as these units are designed for tasks that require portable lighting. These LED fixtures are usually shatterproof, shock-resistant, and devoid of glass. They have hooks located at their tops that enable people to easily latch them on various structures for support.
Businesses can use LED dock lights to meet the needs of hectic delivery bays when receiving products. Hinges or extendable arms can be attached to the units to create versatile lighting options for workers.
Supermarkets and restaurants normally use LED lights to adhere to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) guidelines. Most of the time, these units are found in the backend. Since LEDs are solid state lighting devices, they contain no fragile parts, which means glass and toxic chemicals cannot make their way into food.
They also have a very low heat output, which ensures that cooking processes are not affected by high temperature levels. This feature is very critical in baking stations as a minor change in temperature can quickly melt icing, cake batters, and chocolate.
3 Benefits LED Lighting Offers Food Facilities
The major reason LEDs are so popular is because they offer significant energy savings compared to conventional lighting technologies. Before LEDs were introduced to the market, metal halides and fluorescent lamps were used in many food and beverage plants. However, these lights are not energy-efficient, waste a lot of energy as heat, take a long time to warm up and cool down, and lose their brightness extremely fast.
LEDs can reduce energy consumption by as much as 75%. If they are paired with lighting controls, the energy savings can be as much as 90%. They have a high lumen output and do not need a lot of watts to produce adequate light. For instance, a 400W metal halide bulb usually consumes about 470 watts. A 150W LED bulb can easily replace this traditional bulb and offer better light because of its higher lumen output and Color Rendering Index.
Food plants that switch to LED don’t just save money on their monthly electric bills, they also save money during the conversion project as many utility companies and government programs offer rebates for installing energy-efficient lighting. Government programs are a big motivator in converting to LED technology. Most food manufacturers make the switch because of the rebates and incentives offered. The added benefit is that they also get better lighting and create a safer working environment for their employees.
Less Downtime and Reduced Labor Costs
While energy efficiency and compliance are the top motivators for converting to LED lighting, the real value of LEDs comes from their lower ownership costs. Most businesses don’t think of getting ROI on their lighting, but LEDs usually pay for themselves in less than 2 years.
While their upfront costs may be a bit higher than for metal halides and fluorescent lamps, the cost of ownership is considerably lower. LEDs last 10 times longer than traditional lighting technologies, meaning they have to be replaced less often. Their long lifespan lowers both downtime and labor costs.
Metal halide and fluorescent lamps have a very steep degradation curve. After one year, they may only produce 60% of their initial light output, and after 2 years they may only produce 40%. These lighting systems have no return on investment because they have to be replaced every now and then. You may pay $60 for the light bulb, $80 for the electrician, and $200 for the lift used to install the bulbs. The costs add up quickly.
But LEDs only lose about 2% of their original light output every two years. It takes approximately 10 years for the light to degrade 20%. In food processing facilities, LED bulbs can easily last 5 years and still offer sufficient illumination. The same cannot be said for metal halide and fluorescent bulbs which only offer adequate light for less than one year. When converting to LED lighting, the return on interest is more important than the initial cost of the product.
LEDs Have Excellent Color Rendition, Which Is Vital For Food Safety
LEDs don’t just provide high-quality light, they also render colors very well, thanks to their high Color Rendering Index (CRI). Color Rendering Index is a measurement that ranges from 0 to 100 which measures how precisely a light source renders colors when compared to the perfect light source, the sun.
The sun has a Color Rendering Index of 100, which means it renders the whole color spectrum perfectly. High-quality LED lights have a color rendering index of 70 and above. Those with a Color Rendering Index of 80 and above render colors very well.
The United States Department of Agriculture and the Food Drug Administration specify lighting requirements for food and beverage plants. The USDA requires food inspection areas to have a CRI of 85 and general food processing areas to meet a CRI of 70.
In the food and beverage industry, accurate color rendering is crucial for assuring product quality. It is also important for compliance because it is one of the things that are examined by food safety inspectors. In order to comply with the stringent standards that are set by the regulatory agencies, many food processing plants are making the switch from metal halide lamps to LEDs.
In days gone by, the Color Rendering Index for food inspection areas was in the high 70s. It was later changed to 80, then 83 and now it’s 85. If any changes are made in the near future, chances are that the number will be higher because a high CRI helps food inspectors to make very accurate assessments.
Forward-thinking LED manufacturers are now manufacturing LEDs with a CRI of 85 and above. They are not aiming for the current industry standards because history has shown that the standards will change, so they most definitely will.
Thinking of Switching to LED Lighting To Enhance Food Safety? Talk to Us!
At The Lighting Center, we don’t just meet your lighting needs, we also offer retrofits, replacements, upgrade parts, and industrial-grade power accessories. Our lighting experts can create any lighting plan or design to fit the unique requirements of your food facility.
Our commitment to quality, dependability, and honesty has made our company a leader in the lighting industry. Contact us today to get more information on our customized options for your specific industry needs.
High bay lights are usually found in large indoor spaces with high ceilings like sports arenas, gymnasiums, warehouses, big-box stores, and industrial facilities. These light fixtures usually have a very high lumen output as they have to light up large vertical and horizontal spaces. Many fixtures used in high bay applications produce diffused light which does not cause glare.
The word “bay” was birthed as the construction of commercial and industrial facilities became popular and technically refers to a skeletal framework used to create an interior subspace. But lighting experts use it to refer to any large indoor area that needs to be lit from a high point.
Many commercial and industrial buildings pose a lighting challenge as they have higher-than-normal ceilings and their large surfaces cannot be illuminated from a standard height.
What’s The Difference Between High Bay and Low Bay Lights?
In the lighting industry, high bay lighting and low bay lighting are terminologies used to refer to indoor lighting fixtures that are commonly mounted directly to a ceiling, a ceiling girder, or via pendants, hooks, and chains. These fixtures are usually mounted higher than fluorescent or recessed troffer lighting systems.
High bay fixtures are used in facilities with high ceilings that need to be illuminated from very high points. Generally, high bay lights are mounted on ceilings that are 20 feet to 40 feet above the floor. However, they can also be installed on ceilings that are 15 to 20 feet above the floor, it all depends on the setting.
High bay luminaires can be mounted at lower heights (15-20 feet) to generate light distributions that vary from wide to narrow, depending on the application and the necessity for vertical illumination. The fixtures also work well in environments that have corrosive and harsh substances, like dust and oil particulates.
Low bay lighting fixtures are ideal for spaces whose ceilings aren’t very high – 12-20 feet above the floor. These lights are usually designed to provide sufficient vertical and horizontal illumination and are normally mounted close to each other. They are typically used in less demanding environments and are usually aesthetically pleasing – as they are meant to match modern indoor decor in commercial lighting applications.
The luminaires for high bay applications typically have a high lumen output, each luminaire produces 15,000 to 100,000 lumens. It is worth noting that high bay lights can only be used in high bay applications. If they are used in low bay applications, the light they produce will overpower the spaces. Low bay lights also can’t be used in high bay applications as the light they produce will be inadequate and the spaces will be poorly lit.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Metal Halide and Fluorescent High Bay Lights
For a long time, only metal halide lights were used in high bay applications, because they have a better light output and color temperature than other HID lighting technologies. However, they take at least 15 minutes to attain full brightness and also take long to cool down (they cannot be switched on as soon as they have been switched off). These light sources also consume a lot of electricity, buzz and flicker, and do not have long lifespans. As they age, they lose most of their lumens and shift colors –which makes them bad choices for spaces that need to be well-lit all the time.
Because of their inefficiency, these lights were quickly replaced by fluorescent lamps. And while fluorescents are the best of all conventional lighting systems, they also have many downsides. They have a long warm up time, hum and flicker, are sensitive to temperatures, contain dangerous mercury, are not recommended for enclosed fixtures, and have limited color temperatures. They also don’t dim as smoothly as LED lights and dimming decreases their lifespans. Their biggest issue is most definitely the mercury they contain as the bulbs and the ballasts have to be properly disposed of.
Since high bay lights typically operate for a minimum of 12 hours a day, high bay applications need lights that are energy-efficient, well-constructed, and provide lasting performance. It makes financial sense to replace metal halides and fluorescent lamps with energy saving LED lights.
Compared to fluorescent lamps and metal halides, LEDs are better. They achieve full brightness instantly, last ten times longer, and are less prone to lumen depreciation (they maintain 70% of their lumens for their entire lifetimes).
They also work perfectly with dimmers, motion sensors, occupancy sensors, and other lighting controls – unlike HID or linear fluorescents. But their biggest benefit has to be the energy savings they offer. LEDs consume very little electricity and drastically cut down an energy bill, saving businesses a lot of money. The savings they offer are particularly noticeable with high-intensity lights like high bays, parking lot lights, and street lights.
The Different Types of High Bay Models
Traditional High Bays
Pay a visit to one of the older industrial buildings in your area and chances are you’ll see these fixtures mounted on the ceiling. Featuring a pendant style, they are usually fitted with reflectors made of aluminum. The fixtures usually contain high intensity discharge lamps which need reflectors to capture the light and direct it downwards.
HID lights are omni-directional by nature and discharge light in all directions, unlike LEDs whose light is focused. The light produced from the sides of the bulbs is usually lost if reflectors are not installed in the fixtures to redirect the light.
If your high bay application uses HID high bay fixtures and you would like to convert to LED technology, you don’t have to get rid of the bulbs and their fixtures. You can simply replace the traditional lamps with LED bulbs and start reaping the benefits of LED technology.
However, if you would like to update the look of your space when you convert to LED technology, traditional high bays won’t do, you will need to replace them with panel-style high bays, UFO high bays, or linear aisle lights.
UFO High Bays (Round High Bays)
When choosing light fixtures for high bay applications, efficiency is the most important thing. This is because the light will be discharged from a high ceiling, so it needs to be optimized for illumination. UFO high bays are uniquely designed and their design plays an important role in their efficiency. They are specially created with a fin style that helps them to transfer thermal properties more evenly.
These fixtures don’t need reflectors, because LED lighting is directional and the light produced is focused – unlike traditional lights. Because LED fixtures don’t contain reflectors, they have compact, low profile designs that are pleasing to the eye.
UFO LED highbay lights provide illumination that is powerful and widespread. They feature heavy-duty construction and are IP65 rated, which means they can be used in harsh environments such as grain processing plants, barns, car washes, and industrial laundries.
IP (Ingress Protection) is an International Protection Marking Code that indicates the level of protection a light fixture provides against foreign substances such as dirt and water. UFO lights are also UL listed (for safety purposes) and DLC Listed (which means you can get rebates from your utility company).
Since UFO high bays are very striking in appearance, they are perfect for locations that need to look beautiful– like large grocery stores and sports arenas.
Panel-Style High Bays
These should never be confused with LED light panels. They look like troffer-style panels and resemble T5 and T8 fixtures. Their biggest advantage is that they spread light over a large area, so fewer fixtures may be needed to adequately illuminate a space. Besides their great light distribution, they also contain large heat sinks, which efficiently disperse the heat produced by the LEDs.
If you use T5 or T8 lights in your high bay application, panel-style high bays will make perfect replacements for those lights. The lights can also replace linear fluorescent fixtures. LED tubes can be installed in the fixtures and provide excellent lighting, all you’ll need to get rid of are the fluorescent bulbs. You can also retrofit your existing fluorescent lights with magnetic LED strips.
Linear Aisle LED HighBays
You will mostly see these high bay fixtures in large grocery stores, wholesale club stores, and warehouses as they have beam angles that are specially designed to be used between aisles. If your high bay application contains a lot of aisles, consider getting these high bay fixtures. Some linear aisle LED highbays are UL listed and DLC listed, so you can get rebates from your utility company when you install them in your space.
When you mix the design of these high bays with the incredible power of LED, you get a lighting solution that is affordable, high-functioning, and practical. So, if you have aisles that need to be well illuminated, these are the fixtures you should get for the best lighting design.
LED HighBay Retrofit Kits
Retrofitting is the best way to switch to LED for those who want to save money. A retrofit kit is installed inside the existing light fixture and a LED head and driver replace the traditional bulb and ballast. Retrofits are usually more economical than new LED fixtures as they are cheaper to manufacture (fewer parts are needed to make them), cheaper to buy, and cheaper to install. They also range in power distribution.
6 Important Things to Consider When Buying High Bay Lighting Fixtures
Lumens and Luminous Efficacy
Nothing determines the light output of a bulb more than the lumens. Watts do not measure the brightness of a light bulb, they only tell you the electricity the bulb consumes. Lumens, on the other hand, measure the total amount of visible light generated by a light source. Bulbs that produce more lumens appear brighter compared to those that produce fewer lumens.
Watts may have been the determining factor of brightness in older lighting systems because these lights need a lot of watts to give off many lumens – but that’s all in the past. These days, lumens are all that matter when it comes to light output.
Why are lumens so important?
They play a vital role in helping us to know the brightness of a LED bulb compared to a traditional light source. For instance, if your high bay application currently has high intensity discharge lamps that produce 30,000 lumens, all you have to do is look for LEDs that generate the same amount of lumens (while drawing the least amount of watts).
This brings us to luminous efficacy.
Luminous efficacy (lumens per watt) helps us to know the efficiency of a LED bulb. It measures the number of lumens produced by a light source for every single watt of electricity it consumes. The higher the lumens per watt, the more efficient a light source is.
Thanks to technological advancements, new-generation LEDs have excellent efficacy ratings. A lot of the LEDs on the market have a luminous efficacy of more than 80 lumens per watt (80 lm/W). At the time of writing this post, the most powerful LED listed by the Department of Energy was a 108w bulb that produces more than 22,000 lumens.
You can think of lumens per watt as bang for your buck. The efficiency of your new LED high bay lighting fixtures will be measured by the reduction of your monthly electric bill, because utility companies charge by the watt. LEDs with high efficacy ratings will pay for themselves in a short period of time.
Color Rendering Index (CRI)
One of the things most people complain about when it comes to high intensity discharge lights and fluorescents is poor light color. In the lighting industry, Color Rendering Index is used to define the light color. One thing that makes LED lights superior to their counterparts is their high Color Rendering Index.
CRI is a metric that measures the ability of a light source to reveal the true colors of items when compared to an ideal light source such as sunlight. It measures how a light source reveals and reflects the colors of the objects it illuminates.
Light color is one of the most important things in high bay applications because it affects things like contrast and clarity. In a sports arena, if a sportsman misses a shot, they will complain about the lighting. This space requires a high level of illumination so the flight of the ball can be followed – as do other high bay applications. Powerful lighting is usually needed to maintain the appropriate foot candle levels for sufficient illumination.
Color Temperature (Correlated Color Temperature)
One of the best things about LEDs is that they generate light in a range of colors. While high intensity discharge lamps and fluorescents also produce light in different colors, the color range is limited. Color temperature is usually measured using the Kelvin scale as it is very accurate at measuring extremely hot and cold things.
The sun’s color temperature ranges between 5500K and 6500K. In places where very bright light is needed – like assembly lines, showrooms, parking lots, and warehouses – the lights installed usually have a color temperature of 5000K.
Most offices have lights with a color temperature of 4000K. A low color temperature usually indicates that the light is warm while a high color temperature indicates that the light is cool. The standard color temperature range for commercial and industrial spaces is generally between 3000K and 6000K.
A long time ago, HID lights were the most efficient. This is no longer the case. These lights have very short lifespans (15,000 to 25,000 hours) and have to be used with ballasts, which also consume electricity and have a short life expectancy.
As we earlier mentioned, HID lights have a rapid rate of lumen depreciation and their light output quickly decreases before they reach the end of their lifetimes. Since high bay light fixtures are typically mounted on very high ceilings, electricians usually have to replace these lights all together because changing single fixtures is very expensive (lifts may be needed during the process).
Fluorescent lamps need both ballasts and starters to work, important electrical components that need to be replaced every now and then. The bad news is that you may spend the same amount of money replacing these parts as you would buying new fixtures.
The maintenance costs of traditional lights are very high because many replacement bulbs have to be bought at the same time and money also has to be spent on labor.
Unlike these lights, this is one area where LEDs really shine. They do not need sensitive electrical components to function optimally and last longer than all lighting technologies (up to 100,000 hours). If you buy high-quality LEDs, you can use them for 10 years and still have many hours of use left.
Indicators of Quality
No doubt about it, replacing the lights in your high bay application is an expensive, labor-intensive task. The last thing you want is discovering 1 year later that the LED lights you bought – which were supposed to last more than 10 years – have started to malfunction.
So, how do you avoid this scenario?
The best way to make sure you buy high-quality LED lights is to get them from a reputable manufacturer. When shopping for LED lights online, you will come across many manufacturers. Some may even tell you that their LEDs are the only suitable ones for your space – do not believe such claims as they may be nothing more than sales gimmicks.
We pride ourselves on offering in-depth knowledge first before trying to make a sale. When buying LED highbays, consider how much information the manufacturer gives you about the lights and also check online reviews written by their previous customers.
Another quality indicator of LEDs is their warranty. A reputable LED manufacturer will always honor their warranty, as long as the warranty is still valid. However, disreputable manufacturers may refuse to honor their warranties and give different excuses for their actions.
You can test a manufacturer’s customer service by doing the following:
All the LED fixtures sold by The Lighting Center come with a 10-year warranty and we are always quick to honor warranty claims. While our LED fixtures are of the highest quality and we rarely get any claims, we always respond swiftly to all customers who have issues – which is the reason why we have thousands of happy customers. There’s no better way for a company to prove its integrity to its customers than by honoring warranties.
Buying cheap LED lights can be very tempting, but when you take into account the cost and disruption of replacing all your lighting fixtures, you’ll understand why high-quality LED lights are the best option. You may save money now but spend it all (and even more) in the future.
Rebates and Incentives
Rebates offered by utility companies and incentives offered by the federal government and local municipalities can make converting to LED technology a less costly undertaking because they considerably lower the upfront costs of an upgrade. Utility companies all over America have different rebate programs and offer rebates for commercial and residential LED lighting projects.
The rebate programs differ in each area but utilities typically offer rebates for the energy savings delivered or for new energy-efficient units installed. Each utility company has specific rebate values for energy-efficient lighting technologies like bulbs, lighting controls, and fixtures. Some utilities give free energy assessments to help property owners identify prospective lighting projects and also give them information on the available rebates.
If you own or manage a property with high bay lights, contact your utility company and local municipality. The rebates and incentives offered may be enough to convince you to switch to LED. You can also find out about the available rebate programs by making use of ENERGY STAR’s Rebate Finder or visiting the Department of Energy Rebates and Savings Page.
We have installed LED high bays in gymnasiums, warehouses, big-box stores, industrial facilities and many other spaces with high ceilings. Our fixtures are UL Listed and DLC Certified and we always ensure they are evenly spaced for proper light distribution. Contact us today so we can discuss your lighting project.
In movies and TV programs, dark parking lots are focal points of criminal activity. There’s one common scenario that has been repeated over and over again. A young lady is walking down a street at night. As she gets near a poorly lit parking lot, she sees an outline of a person in the dark. She quickens her walking pace, but the person gets nearer and nearer.
This scenario has been repeated so many times we always know that a crime is going to happen the next minute. Vehicle theft and muggings may not be the only criminal activities that take place in dark parking lots, but they are the most common.
Almost every company today has a parking lot. Parking lots have become vital in most business environments because clients, employees, and visitors use them to enter and exit commercial properties and to park their cars. During the day, commercial parking lots are perfectly illuminated by natural light. Visibility is clear and there are no safety concerns. However, at night, good lighting is what determines whether a parking lot is safe and secure and if there’s clear visibility.
At night, people avoid parking lots that are not well-lit as they do not feel safe. And they are right in doing so. Poorly lit parking lots attract robberies, burglaries, vehicle break-ins, and vehicle theft. Poor visibility in parking lots also results in safety issues like vehicle accidents and personal injury incidences. Additionally, people usually think a business is closed if the parking lot outside is not well lit. They may drive to another commercial property to do business, costing a company a lot of revenue time and again.
If you own or manage a commercial property, there’s no benefit you’ll get from skimping on parking lot lighting. In fact, a badly lit parking lot will only work against your property. Dark parking lots invite crime and danger and cause businesses located inside the property to lose revenue. If a crime happens, security cameras won’t be able to record clear footage because of the bad lighting. And depending on the situation, you may end up being prosecuted – something you could have avoided from the get-go.
What You Should Do As a Facility Manager
One of the first things you should do is evaluate the parking lot lighting to determine whether it is in need of maintenance or a serious upgrade. While lighting alone will not get rid of crime in your parking lot, high-quality lighting placed in the right location may prevent criminals from stealing vehicles or breaking into them.
Good parking lot lighting will also deter other criminal activities that usually take place in dark parking lots. Research has shown that 40% of violent crimes happen in parking lots. A 4-year study that was carried out by the Bureau of Justice Statistics recorded 110,000 property crimes in commercial parking lots and garages alone.
While there are a myriad of opinions on the role that lighting plays in property security, there are some great positives. First, proper lighting enables customers, employees, and residents to see better as they drive around the parking lot, in building entrances and exits, in areas such as loading docks, and around walkways.
If a crime takes place in a well-lit parking lot, witnesses can clearly see important details about offenders such as their clothing, hair color, and license plate numbers. High-quality lighting also helps people in a parking lot to look out for each other.
You should not only pay attention to the lighting inside your building, you should also focus on parking lot lighting. This lighting is particularly important in properties where cars are parked for several hours – such as shopping malls, hospitals, sports complexes, concert centers, and churches.
While you should consider installing security cameras and alarms to enhance security and safety, installing high-quality LED lighting in the most appropriate location can play an important role in making the parking lot safer for business owners, customers, staff, visitors, and residents.
How to Make Your Parking Lot Safer: 5 Great Tips
If you want to make sure that your parking lot is well-lit, there are 4 ways to go about it.
1. Carry Out Maintenance on Parking Lot Lighting
Lighting maintenance refers to the updating, upkeep, and replacement of lighting fixtures. While it is often overlooked, proper lighting maintenance can play a large role in decreasing utility bills, especially for properties where lighting accounts for approximately 20% of the total energy consumed.
Most of the time, facility managers don’t have detailed lighting maintenance policies – all they do is replace burnt-out bulbs. Failure to maintain lighting fixtures can result in visual degradation, contributing to higher utility costs.
If you use high intensity discharge lamps in your parking lot, their lighting levels will decrease over time because these light fixtures lose their brightness as they age. Dust and debris on lamps can also affect the illumination. Consider replacing these light fixtures with LEDs which have a low rate of lumen depreciation and do not need to be replaced every now and then because of their long lifespans.
HID lamps require a lot of maintenance as you have to replace the lenses as soon as they appear yellow. The lights also have to be replaced en masse to save on labor costs, to keep illumination high, and to avoid stressing ballasts with dying bulbs.
Basic light maintenance tactics include cleaning the fixtures and their housings every 6 to 24 months and dusting them regularly. You should also inspect all of the parking lot lights every week to ensure they’re working.
2. Replace Light Fixtures That Are Burnt Out
Burnt-out bulbs in a parking lot can lead to uneven light coverage and an increase in vandalism and other dangerous situations. A dark parking lot also sends out a negative message about your property and your neglect of such a vital area.
The location of burnt-out bulbs in your parking lot is also important. If several lights close to each other are burnt out, or if they are in key areas such as entrances, exits, sidewalks, walkways, or next to dumpsters, those bulbs should be replaced very quickly.
As the owner or manager of the parking lot, you have a responsibility to protect the people who use the area. Do not wait until it is too late, change out spoiled or dim lights as soon as you can.
3. Replace High Intensity Discharge Lamps With LEDs
Most parking lot lighting poles use metal halide or high pressure sodium lamps. But these lamps consume a lot of electricity and take 10 to 15 minutes to attain full brightness. They are also omnidirectional and discharge light in all directions. To prevent wastage of light, reflectors are normally used to transmit the light to a specific area. But reflectors are not completely efficient and a lot of lumens are lost as they bounce off them and back to the light fixtures.
During the reflective process, up to 30% of lumens can be lost. This means that a high intensity discharge bulb supposed to generate 20,000 lumens may only generate 17,000 lumens. Before you replace HID lamps with LEDs, get a lighting expert to evaluate the brightness of the bulbs. They will tell you the LEDs that will make perfect replacements for the traditional lighting systems.
LEDs distribute light more effectively in a parking lot, require less maintenance, and lower your utility bill. They discharge white light which helps people to identify figures, colors, and shapes. They are also kinder to the environment and can last up to 100,000 hours, doing away with the need to change-out bulbs frequently.
4. Go For Dusk to Dawn Lights or Install Motion Sensors
Dusk to dawn parking lot lights have LEDs with photocells that turn the light on at night and turn it off in the morning, when it becomes bright again. You can think of photocells as light sensors. They are extremely good at detecting light and work as light-sensitive resistors.
When the surrounding environment is dark, their resistance increases, sending a signal to the circuit to provide more current. When the surrounding environment becomes bright, their resistance goes down, signaling to the circuit to provide less current. They ensure that lights are only on when they need to be on, prolonging the lifetimes of the LEDs, lowering maintenance costs, and reducing electricity consumption.
LEDs work very well with motion sensors which switch on lights upon detecting any motion close by and switch off lights if there’s no motion. These sensors are perfect for exterior spaces that don’t need to be lit all the time.
7 Important Takeaways
Now that we’ve told you how to make your parking lot safer with high-quality lighting, here are 7 important things to remember.
There’s one interesting thing about parking lot lighting – most people don’t notice its quality unless it is bad. If a parking lot is well-lit, drivers and pedestrians find it easy to navigate – and they also feel safe. On the other hand, if it is poorly lit, people feel unsafe and the rate of crime and accidents goes up.
If your business is located inside a commercial building with a parking lot, you should know that your clients’ experience begins in the parking lot. Parking lot lighting is a crucial factor for a business at night. If the parking area outside your business premises is poorly lit at night, customers will not park, stop, or shop.
A well-lit parking lot can enhance safety and security and improve aesthetics, attracting potential customers to your business. It sends a clear message to customers that your business is open and they can come in to shop.
Consider this, you go out of your way to make your business premises look good and to keep it up to par with customer expectations and strict standards. But then you ignore the parking lot. Big mistake! The parking lot is just as important as the interior.
It is an extension of your business premises and gives your customers and visitors a first impression of your business, whether good or bad. Good lighting speaks volumes about your business as a whole, but there are more reasons why high-quality lighting in your parking lot is so important. Here are 3.
It Helps Prevent Accidents
According to the National Safety Council, numerous accidents occur every year in parking lots. As people walk in unfamiliar territory, they can easily slip, fall, or get seriously injured if the lighting is bad. Those driving in the parking lot may be unable to see clearly and may crash into objects or collide with other vehicles.
If you manage a commercial property or have a business in a commercial building, it’s up to you to keep the space in good condition. This doesn’t just mean cleaning up spills or filling in floor cracks, it means providing good lighting both indoors and outdoors. If someone has an accident on your premises, you may be held liable. Some businesses have been sued because people got injured or tripped due to inadequate lighting.
People driving in your parking area should be able to see pedestrians, other vehicles, potholes, and other obstacles. The better pedestrians and drivers can see when they are in your parking lot, the lower the likelihood of accidents. Proper illumination helps pedestrians and drivers to see well enough to avoid situations that could lead to accidents. It also prevents your customers from getting lost as they visit your business premises.
Lowers the Crime Rate
If a criminal is scoping out your business premises with the intent of vandalizing or breaking in, they will be less likely to carry out their plan if the building is well-lit both indoors and outdoors. Crime and darkness go hand in hand. Criminals are more likely to conduct their criminal activities in a dark area because it keeps them hidden and they can carry out their work without being seen.
When your customers, visitors, and employees are unable to detect any movement in the parking lot, they can easily get assaulted or mugged.Their vehicles may also be broken into or stolen without the knowledge of the security staff (as surveillance cameras will be unable to capture video footage clearly).
To be broken into or stolen without the knowledge of the security staff (as surveillance cameras will be unable to capture video footage clearly).
High-quality parking lot lighting can make the area safer for your customers, employees, and business associates and reduce your legal exposure. It is also a great way of showing your customers and prospects that they are always welcome at your premises no matter the time of day.
It Reflects Well On your Business
Installing high-quality LED lighting is an excellent way to advertise your business. Just like the interior, the exterior of your business premises reflects your company and its values. Good lighting makes your clients, employees, and business associates see your company as a warm, welcoming place.
When your parking lot is poorly lit, your customers’ confidence in your business goes down and fewer people visit your business premises at night, which may have a negative impact on your sales. Just one incident of violence, theft, or assault can lose you the trust of your customers and employees – which is the last thing you want.
If you use video surveillance, high-quality LED lights will allow your cameras to capture better footage, enhancing the security. Think of your business, the bottom line, the area’s safety and security, and the people who sustain your business – your customers and employees. Make them feel cared for, not totally neglected.
Benefits of (LED) Parking Lot Lighting for Commercial Spaces
Changing all the light fixtures in your parking lot may seem like a costly, time-consuming venture, but it isn’t. Switching to LED technology is totally worth the money and time. Light emitting diodes have become common features in parking lots across the country. Businesses, organizations, and institutions use them instead of inefficient high intensity discharge lights and fluorescents
Here are 6 great benefits of LEDs Smaller Impact
If you are looking for a way to reduce your company’s environmental footprint, LEDs should be your top choice. They do not contain dangerous components which are harmful to the environment. Fluorescent lights and some high intensity discharge lights contain mercury and have to be disposed of by professionals. LEDs do not need to be handled with extra care during disposal. They also don’t pose a health risk if they happen to break.
LED lights have a long lifespan and consume less electricity than conventional lighting systems, lowering the demand from power plants and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Research has also showed that LEDs cause less ecological damage than other lighting technologies. They also generate less heat.
LED technology helps you to save money in three ways: by reducing energy consumption, lowering light maintenance, and offering high quality light (which means you’ll need fewer light fixtures). The biggest benefit of LEDs is their low power consumption. They consume less than half of the energy traditional light sources consume and produce higher-quality light.
LED parking-lot lights usually consume between 65 and 450 watts, unlike HID lights which consume between 250 and 1000 watts. In addition, LEDs don’t use ballasts (which also consume a lot of electricity). As soon as conventional lights are replaced with LEDs, power consumption goes down by up to 75%. If lighting controls are added, energy consumption can go down by up to 90%.
LED lights lower lighting maintenance costs because of the way they generate light. They use semiconductors to produce light, so their light output goes down gradually over time. Individual LED bulbs are comprised of numerous small LED chips and don’t work as hard as traditional lights to produce adequate light. This helps prolong their lifespans. Thanks to their long lifespans, LEDs don’t have to be replaced for years. The same cannot be said for HID lights which use fuel sources to produce light. Their efficiency decreases as the fuel gets used up.
The third money-saving benefit of LEDs is that you may need fewer fixtures. Parking lot lighting poles normally have 1 or 2 fixtures and those installed in busy areas can have up to 4 fixtures. If you use traditional lighting technologies like HIDs, you may need more fixtures for the parking lot to be well-lit at night, because these lights lose their brightness very fast. But since LEDs generate better light, you may only require a few fixtures to produce the same amount of lumens (light) produced by conventional lights.
One of the biggest disadvantages of HID lights and fluorescent lamps is that they need a lot of maintenance. These lighting systems have a life expectancy of 15,000 to 25,000 hours, which means they must be frequently replaced. Replacing these lights can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, depending on where they are installed. The lights also use ballasts which do not have long lifespans and must be replaced when the lights are being replaced.
Another downside of HIDs is their high rate of lumen depreciation. These lights lose most of their brightness (lumens) long before they reach the end of their lifetimes. Their lumen depreciation process is also not straightforward as the lights start to shift colors as they get old. They usually have to be changed when their efficiency decreases as most commercial spaces need maximum illumination.
LEDs have a long life expectancy (50,000-100,000 hours), and retain 70% of their brightness for their entire lifespans. They don’t use ballasts or shift colors as they get old and are virtually maintenance-free.
LEDs have a higher Color Rendering Index than traditional light sources and easily reveal the real colors of objects. They don’t just ensure that a parking lot is well-lit, they make sure that drivers and pedestrians can easily see objects or obstructions as they drive or walk around. These light fixtures come in a range of color temperatures and can enhance the eyes’ perception of brightness.
LED lights have a multipoint design and dispense light evenly across a parking lot. What this means is that people who are close to the lights or far away from them will be able to see clearly as there isn’t a big difference in light levels no matter the distance. Metal halide lamps, which are frequently used in parking lots, create very bright spots underneath them and the light levels decrease significantly as one moves away from the light fixtures.
The Light Is Controllable
One of the greatest things about LEDs is that their light output is easy to adjust. When you pair them with automation and sensor technology, you can save even more money. Lighting controls make sure that parking lot lights are only on when they need to be and considerably change the way electricity is consumed.
LEDs are highly flexible and you can increase or decrease their light output without having to change their housings. But if your parking lot lighting poles have metal halide lights and you need to change the lights to make the parking lot brighter at night or to follow municipal lighting codes, you’ll have to get rid of the lamps and reflectors. Additionally, high intensity discharge lights cannot be used with lighting controls as they have long warm up and cool down times.
When LED technology was first introduced to the market, the lights were very expensive and only a handful of businesses could afford them. But as more manufacturers joined the LED bandwagon, the prices gradually went down. These days, LEDs are very affordable and rebates and incentives offered by utilities and the government make them even more affordable.
Rebates and incentives make switching to LED technology a less expensive venture as they drastically reduce the initial costs of an upgrade. Utility companies have various rebate programs for LED lighting and offer incentives and cash rebates for commercial LED lighting projects.
While the rebate programs depend on the specific area, utility companies generally give rebates for the installment of new energy-efficient lighting units or for the energy savings delivered. These companies usually give incentives and rebates to reduce the demand for power on the grid.
But as LEDs become more affordable, the rebate amounts offered by utilities also decrease. This is why you should carry out your LED conversion project sooner than later. Putting off the project for even a few months may mean missing out on a good check.
Buy (LED) Parking Lot Lights
As you can see, LEDs offer an economical and effective way to light up your parking lot. Don’t spend a lot of time and money on traditional light sources that only drive up your power bill – get LEDs. You will also feel great about lowering your company’s environmental footprint and landfill waste.
This is probably the most common HID light on the market, the 400W HID (Metal Halide or HPS) bulb. It’s not hard to find this fixture in a commercial or industrial facility. Along with their associated ballasts, these lights consume around 455 Watts every time they are turned on. Want to learn how to save 75% or more?
Replacing 400W HID with a LED 100W RetrofitKit
So what is a 100W RetrofitKit? It is essentially a kit containing everything to replace the HID bulb and ballast in an existing fixture. Using your existing fixture, we basically take all the parts out of the fixture (bulb, ballast, reflector and socket). To replace 400W HID, we recommend our 100W LED Retrofit Kit.
Our Retrofit Kit includes a LED Head and all the brackets to install the head into the existing fixture. It also includes an external LED Driver.
Installing a Retrofit Kit is quick and painless:
1. remove the bulb.
2. remove the ballast
3. remove the reflector (you won’t need it as LED light is directional)
4. remove the socket that held the old HID bulb.
Once the fixture is gutted, you will need to figure out what mounting option works best. The supplied mounts provides many options. Mount the driver where the old (removed) ballast was located and wire it to the input wires of the fixture. Install the head onto the mounting bracket you configured, and hook up the drivers red / black wires to the LED Heads red / black wires.
Clean the lens and lock up the fixture. You’re done.
Energy Savings: 100W LED versus 400W Metal Halide
Below is a chart showing how much you can save, per fixture, converting from 400W HID to 100W LED. This assumes 12 hours a day operation, 365 days a year.
100 LED Watts replacing 400 Watts for 12 hrs/day 365 days/yr saving 1577 kw/year *
* includes ballast draw
There are several things to take into consideration when planning lighting for a gym. Gyms need a lot of light and must appear bright and airy at all times. They have different sections and each requires specific lighting. The light fixtures you choose must always be based on the needs of the area.
The success of a fitness business usually hinges on customer retention. If people love a gym, they will keep coming back. Lighting can make or break a gym. Some gyms are cold and sterile, almost hospital-like, and their lighting does not create a warm environment. The good news is that you can transform a gym just by changing the lighting. You can redesign each room to get the response you want from gym members. Light has a very powerful effect, it can motivate or demotivate.
The Relationship between Light, Mood, and Movement
Nothing has a greater impact on mood and movement in a gym than lighting. Most facilities incorporate as much natural light as possible because it has the ability to improve mood. Natural light has a positive impact on alertness, the more alert someone is, the more energized they will be.
The light color that people respond positively to is the one most similar to natural light. It is on clear, sunny days that people feel most alert and energized – which is why light that mimics natural light should be used in gyms.
We’ve installed LED lighting in many gymnasiums, so we’ve decided to give lighting recommendations for different gym sections.
Lighting Different Areas of a Gym
Workout areas are the most important areas of a gym because people come to a gym to work out. These sections should have bright lights that enhance alertness. In large rooms where high-intensity workouts like aerobics or boot camps are performed, the lights should have a color temperature of 4000K.
These lights help gym members to see the instructor and also avoid injury. To enhance the effect, the lights can be programmed to change intensity or color. They can also be paired with high-energy videos or music.
In areas where yoga or meditation are done, soft light is needed. The light installed should create a calming environment. LED fixtures installed in these areas should be dimmable to create a relaxed mood.
In cycling classes where individuals don’t physically interact, darker light is acceptable. But the instructor must be able to make the room fully bright if need be – and this is where dimmers come in. Workout rooms should never be completely dark. Some lights should always be on to light up the paths and the exit in case of emergencies, or if a participant needs to leave during a session.
In the weightlifting and cardio areas, bright light fixtures with a slightly lower lumen output are recommended. This is because gym members may have to look at the light when using machines that require them to lie on their backs. If the light is too bright, it will make their eyes uncomfortable.
LEDs used in these areas can have milky lens covers or they can be combined with diffusers. Lighting designers must also pay attention to glare levels as most workout machines and treadmills will cause glare if the light is too bright or installed in the wrong spot.
Pool and Showers
The lights used in pool and shower areas must be UL Listed for wet locations. Recessed lighting is also perfect for these places as the fixtures will be more protected if they are housed inside the ceiling and not suspended.
Lights installed in the pool area must have three qualities: durability, resistance, and safety. While there are no set foot candle standards for pools, they should have a minimum of 200 lux over their surfaces during the day and night. The lighting installed in the shower area should have a high level of brightness to improve safety and visibility.
Lockers and Changing Area
The changing area of a gym plays a vital role in customer satisfaction. It should always appear hygienic and the lighting must create a sense of space and luxury.
The changing area usually serves as a relaxation spot after working out. For this reason, the lighting installed must be bright but gentle. People also need bright light as they open their lockers and retrieve or put their personal belongings. Lighting experts shouldn’t be afraid to mix and match light fixtures of different types or lumen outputs. They can install soft lights in the changing area and bright lights in the locker area.
The exterior lights of a gym can attract potential members or drive them away. High-quality light fixtures can make those outside the gym to see what’s going on inside and be motivated to join. The lights can also make the exterior safe and make people want to linger.
When choosing exterior light fixtures for a gym, the most crucial factor is durability. Only fixtures that are UL Listed for wet and damp locations should be used as they will be constantly exposed to outdoor elements like rain, heat, and wind.
The walkway leading to the gym must be well-lit as this lowers the chances of accidents. Lighting poles with mounted lights or wall mounted fixtures that distribute light downwards can be used – the most important thing is to create a safe, attractive walkway.
The Bottom Line
The most important factor in gym lighting is client comfort. If people don’t feel comfortable in a gym, they won’t go back. The lighting should create an environment that is inviting, safe, and enjoyable. Use the right LED lighting to create a perfect environment for exercise.
Commercial spaces are not equal and their lighting needs are as different as night and day. Take for example, a textile manufacturing factory. Very bright light is needed here as the workers have to make sure that the fabric colors, the stitching, and the finishing are perfect. An office, on the other hand, may not need very bright light as the tasks performed may not call for clarity and contrast.
Even if the textile factory and the offices are located in buildings with the same square feet, their lighting needs will never be equal. The activities carried out in the spaces dictate the light fixtures to be used to provide sufficient illumination.
When it comes to lighting, the last thing people think of is numerical figures. Why think of numbers when all you need to know is whether the light is bright enough or very dull? But like it or not, numerical figures play a crucial role in lighting.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requires workplace lighting to be measured in foot candles.
Just what is a foot candle and why is it so important in lighting?
A foot candle accurately measures how bright light is 1 foot away from a light source. It is the most common unit of measurement for lighting and is used by lighting professionals to determine light levels in indoor and outdoor spaces. In short, a foot candle measures the intensity of light in a space.
In this post, we’ll be giving foot candle recommendations for 5 different types of settings.
1. Offices and Interior Spaces
When an office is well-lit, workers are able to accomplish tasks safely and efficiently. Additionally, good light levels can help prevent eye strain, allowing employees to work comfortably for long periods of time. However, too much light is just as bad as too little light as it makes it hard for workers to do their tasks.
Since workers in an office have no way of measuring the intensity of light, there are some questions you should ask yourself if you are a building owner, a facility manager, or a decision-maker.
5 questions to ask yourself to find out whether the lighting in an office or indoor space is sufficient
The foot candles needed in offices and interior spaces are usually dependent on the tasks that are carried out. General office spaces only need 20 foot candles. But spaces where detailed tasks are carried out, like drafting, need plenty of light – approximately 50 foot candles.
Conference rooms need about 30 foot candles as visually challenging tasks are carried out in them. Doctors’ offices need even more light as complicated, intricate procedures are usually conducted in these rooms. 100-200 foot candles are needed in these offices.
Common rooms like lunch rooms and rest rooms do not need a lot of light. 15 foot candles are enough for lunch rooms while 18 foot candles are adequate for rest rooms. The interior spaces of general retail stores, car showrooms, and service areas require 50 foot candles. Department stores only need 40 foot candles to ensure people can easily see and locate products.
Consider Reflection and Shadows
While these are the recommended foot candles for these areas, lighting designers should also take into account the reflection caused by objects and components in interior spaces. Walls, furniture, and machines in a room can reflect up to 50% light while floors can reflect up to 40% light.
When installing lighting fixtures in an office, an electrical professional should avoid spacing the fixtures very widely as this may lead to the creation of shadows. Objects positioned between such lights may also be the cause of shadows.
Primary sources of light can also create shadows if they are positioned directly above or behind workers in an office. If you are installing lighting fixtures in an office, be sure to test the area’s lighting conditions or reconstruct the office layout if possible to ensure there are no shadows when the lighting fixtures are installed.
If light is unevenly distributed in an office or an indoor space, it creates dark spots in some areas. Because the lighting levels will be inconsistent, people’s eyes will have to constantly readjust to the light, and their eyes will get strained in the process. The lighting conditions of interior spaces can be improved by painting walls white, replacing traditional light fixtures with LED, and getting rid of tinted or damaged fixtures.
There are different types of warehouses: private warehouses, public warehouses, automated warehouses, climate-controlled warehouses, and distribution centers. Different types of activities are carried out in these warehouses, which means different light fixtures are needed. Areas that don’t see a lot of activity like storage rooms require 5-10 foot candles. Loading bays and inspection rooms, which see a lot of activity, need very bright light – 30-50 foot candles. Cold storage rooms, warehouse aisles, and open warehouses support 20 foot candles of light.
Warehouse workers have to handle products of different sizes on a daily basis. The size of the items usually dictates the amount of light required. 20-50 foot candles of light are needed in spaces where small objects with tiny labels are frequently handled. In areas where bulky items with big labels are handled, 10-20 foot candles are enough.
We know that foot candle measurements can be quite confusing for people who don’t have a lot of knowledge on lighting.
If you’re not a lighting professional, ask yourself these questions to know whether your warehouse or distribution center is well-lit.
The answers you come up with will help you to know the lighting needs of the warehouse space.
One of the most common warehouse tasks is identification. Workers have to read the labels and documents for products and materials. When installing light fixtures in a warehouse or a distribution center, a warehouse lighting expert must think of contrast levels to ensure they use the right fixtures. The reflective nature of machines, walls, and objects must also be considered to determine whether more or less foot candles are needed.
3. Manufacturing and Industrial Facilities
In factories and manufacturing facilities, some work is usually done by machines. The lighting in these spaces must be bright enough to enhance safety. If workers feel safe, they can focus on their jobs and get more work done. Spaces with printing machines and sheet metal processing machines require 50-100 foot candles. These places need bright light as visual stress can lead to accidents.
Storage rooms that house machine in-feeds and machines only need 5-10 foot candles as they don’t get a lot of activity. Areas where large products are manufactured or assembled only require 30 foot candles while areas where tiny products and materials are produced need 100 foot candles.
To know whether the light in a machining facility is sufficient, ask yourself these questions.
When it comes to machine lighting, two issues usually crop up: odd angles and contrast levels. Large levers, exit or output points, and deep indentations can prevent light beams from illuminating some areas of machines.
To steer clear of these problems, lighting professionals can install fixtures that generate light horizontally or powerful fixtures in the areas that are not lit by overhead fixtures. They can also install different lights (like overhead lights and diffused lights) to create good contrast levels in areas where light contrast is important.
4. Color Matching and Painting Facilities
Because of the detailed nature of the work carried out in these facilities, they usually have very high lighting requirements. But the specific nature of the work performed will determine the foot candles needed. In painting facilities where visual acuity is of utmost importance, 100-150 foot candles are adequate. However, the light fixtures must be mounted no higher than 3 feet.
20-50 foot candles are needed in spaces where simple spraying and normal hand painting are performed. But where fine hand painting and finishing are done, up to 500 foot candles may be needed. The complexity of the tasks will determine the exact foot candles required.
These 5 questions will help you to assess whether the lighting in a painting or color matching facility is enough.
2 lighting details play a very important role in these facilities: Color Rendering Index and Color Temperature. Lights with a high color rendering index reveal the true colors of objects and those with a high color temperature look brighter.
5. Exterior Spaces
The longevity and efficiency of outdoor light fixtures depends on where they are installed. Outdoor spaces are continually affected by ever-changing factors that can wreak havoc on light fixtures. During the day, the sun may deliver adequate light to an outdoor area. At night, the same area may need bright light. Dark public areas support 20-50 foot candles as they need to be well-lit.
If you want to know whether the lighting in an outdoor area is adequate, here are 3 questions to ask.
The different activities performed in outdoor spaces usually determine the foot candles required. Spaces that need the least amount of light are building exteriors. Only 1 foot candle is needed in these spaces. But where safety is a priority, the number goes up to 3. Building entrances and enclosed parking lots (with area lighting) need 5 foot candles while open parking lots support 2 foot candles.
Gas station canopies require 13 foot candles to be adequately lit while pump islands need 20 foot candles. Other outdoor areas that need 20 foot candles are ATMs, active storage yards, gardens, piers, and the exteriors of car dealerships.
When installing lighting fixtures in any of these spaces, lighting experts should follow these recommendations and stick to the industrial lighting guidelines to ensure the fixtures they install are perfect.
Your warehouse or distribution center is the heart of your entire operation, the place where you complete projects and fulfill contracts. Efficiency and productivity are crucial in a warehouse. And for your employees to be efficient and productive, the environment they work in must be conducive.
Having LED lighting in your warehouse is the starting point to enhancing safety and boosting employee productivity. While LED technology is known for the savings it offers, one of its lesser-known benefits is boosting safety. Today, we’ll be looking at 5 ways LED lighting can enhance warehouse safety.
1. It Improves Visibility, Resulting in Fewer Accidents
One of the less discussed benefits of LED lighting is the significant decrease in fire hazard risk realized when fluorescents or high intensity discharge lights are replaced with LEDs. Since LEDs pull very little electricity and produce very little heat, they are less likely to cause any type of fire.
Traditional lights waste a lot of energy as they emit 95% of the electricity they draw as heat. On the other hand, LEDs only emit 5% electricity as heat and convert 95% into light. Because traditional lights waste so much energy, they tend to get very hot. Try putting your hand close to any conventional light bulb and it can easily burn your skin. And because your hand has a different temperature, the temperature change might cause the bulb’s glass to shatter.
If traditional lights are installed incorrectly, recessed into a wall’s plaster without adequate ventilation, or left touching other materials, the heat they produce can easily cause fires. LED lights consume about one-tenth of the electricity conventional lights consume and produce the same amount of lumens (or even more). They produce very little heat and do not pose a fire hazard.
2. Decreased Work Errors
Bad lighting can cause headaches, eye strain, and poor posture. When employees are not comfortable, their concentration decreases, which affects their productivity. They are less alert and energetic and can easily make mistakes that will have a negative impact on your business or jeopardize their safety.
A light’s color temperature determines how people see objects and also impacts their mood and productivity. LED lights for a warehouse must have a color temperature between 4000K and 5000K. These lights produce bright white light that is very similar to natural light.
Get such lights for your warehouse and create a happier, productive work environment for your employees. They will find it easy to read high shelving labels and stack products properly. Shipping mistakes will also be reduced as workers will be able to read small package labels.
3. Cools Down a Warehouse
The high heat produced by traditional fixtures can cause a warehouse’s temperature to fluctuate. For instance, a warehouse may be very cool in the morning and very warm and stuffy in the afternoon. These drastic temperature changes can have a very negative impact on employee productivity.
In addition, conventional lights make the air conditioning to work extra hard to decrease the heat they produce, which means your energy bill will go through the roof. LEDs are designed to operate at lower temperatures and do not cause drastic temperature changes in spaces.
4. Reduces Damage to Property and Loss of Products
The products you store in your warehouse can make or break your business. If products get damaged or lost, your business’ bottom line will be negatively impacted. If your warehouse functions as a distribution center, you can be held liable if your customers’ products get lost or damaged. The last thing you want is your business to suffer because of bad lighting.
Since LED lights are bright and powerful, they illuminate dim corners, high shelves, and back aisles. This means your workers will easily locate products (you may have thought were lost) in the dark corners of your warehouse. LED Lighting will also ensure that your employees do not waste a lot of time searching for items that are close by.
With LED lighting, your workers will be able to organize products properly (which will ensure they don’t get damaged) and those packing them for shipping will be able to find them easily (as no product will be lost).
5. Lower Chances of Forklifts Causing Accidents
Modern warehouses are hectic places filled with a lot of activity. Most hold very many products in order to make the most revenue, which means workers are always in a hurry to do their jobs.
Forklift drivers are some of the busiest people in a warehouse as they are always organizing and rearranging products. They are always moving around in tight warehouse aisles and quickly loading and offloading products. Even the best forklift drivers hurry up to get the job done, exceeding the set speed limits in the process.
If a warehouse is poorly lit, forklift drivers can easily hit other workers or crash into products and damage them. LED lights make sure that forklift drivers see everything clearly, be it their fellow workers or objects. They can easily steer clear of them and avert disaster.
Switch to LED Technology Today
If you’re still using conventional lighting systems in your warehouse, we hope we’ve convinced you to make the switch. Create a safe work environment for your employees and take your business to the next level. LED lighting creates a win-win situation: it saves you money and protects your employees and products. That’s why upgrading to LED needs no contemplation.
One thing we’ve said time and again is that upgrading to LED technology is the best decision you’ll ever make. However, making the decision to switch to LED is only half the battle. Once you’ve made up your mind, there is another important decision to make: to either retrofit your current fixtures or buy new fixtures.
If you’re a business owner or a decision-maker, we know there’s nothing you want more than to save your company money. You may also be looking to lower your company’s environmental footprint and help save the environment. It makes financial sense to retrofit your existing fixtures as retrofits offer the same benefits as new fixtures.
Retrofitting can help you to save money and also impact your business’ bottom line positively – because good lighting increases employee productivity. Just by replacing traditional lighting fixtures with LEDs, you can lower energy consumption by up to 75%. Add lighting controls and energy consumption will go down even more – by up to 90%.
Because we want to clear any doubts about retrofitting, let us discuss how it differs from a full fixture replacement.
What Is Retrofitting?
Retrofitting means adding something that wasn’t part of the original structure. In lighting, it means replacing conventional lamps and ballasts with LEDs without getting rid of the existing fixtures. Retrofitting is recommended if a building’s fixtures are in good working condition.
What Is A Full Fixture Replacement (A Full Redesign)?
This means getting rid of traditional lamps, ballasts, and fixtures and replacing them with new LED fixtures. It is worth noting that a full redesign is more expensive than retrofitting and is only recommended if the existing lighting fixtures are dysfunctional, completely enclosed, if a building is new (and the lighting system hasn’t been installed), or if a building is getting remodeled.
Retrofitting is the most economical way of switching to LED. Here are 4 of its benefits.
1. Low Upfront Costs
One of the reasons many businesses put off switching to LED technology is because of the associated costs. Yes, LEDs were very costly when they were first introduced to the market, but this is no longer the case, especially if you choose retrofits.
Sure, retrofitting requires an initial investment. However, the kits are cheaper than new LED fixtures. Their installation costs are also lower as electricians don’t take a lot of time fixing them.
Retrofits are designed as direct replacements of conventional lighting technologies. They fit perfectly into existing fixtures and offer all the benefits of LED technology for a fraction of the cost. What’s more, you may end up paying a lot less for retrofits as the government and some utilities offer incentives, rebates, grants, and programs that further decrease the upfront costs.
2. Reduced Maintenance Costs
One of the biggest downsides of high intensity discharge lamps is their high maintenance costs. They have very short life expectancies and a very high rate of lumen depreciation so they usually have to be replaced before they reach the end of their lives. Because replacing these lights is a time-consuming process, electricians usually change them all together as changing individual fixtures can be quite expensive.
LEDs have very low maintenance costs as they have the longest lifespans of all lighting technologies. Their shortest lifespan is 50,000 hours, which means you can use them for years without having to replace them. They also retain 70% of their brightness for their entire lives and don’t have to be replaced before their lifetimes come to an end.
3. A Great Way to Future-Proof Buildings
Future-proofing is a general term that can refer to infrastructure, buildings, cities, communities, countries, or even the whole planet. When it comes to buildings, future-proofing means changing a building with an aim of maximizing its whole life value when confronted with unpredictable, ongoing change.
Change is inevitable and the lighting systems that were used 10 years ago are no longer popular today. This is why it is so important to future-proof your building, because like it or not, you’ll have to change it one day.
As environmental pollution continues to have a negative impact on our planet, governments pass new laws that require buildings to become energy-efficient. If there ever comes a time when your building doesn’t meet a new energy demand, it may be demolished or you may have to redesign it. That’s why we recommend retrofitting. It makes your building energy-efficient and prolongs its lifespan.
4. Less Waste
LED lights are designed to last. When you upgrade your lighting to LED, you may end up purchasing fewer lights as new generation LEDs have a high luminous efficacy – they produce more lumens for each watt of electricity they consume. Since LEDs have a long lifespan, you won’t have to replace them for years, which means fewer materials will end up in landfills.
LED fixture retrofits use fewer materials than new fixtures. This lowers the total system cost and the quantity of materials that need to be recycled or thrown away.
Fluorescent lamps and some HIDs contain mercury which can be harmful to the environment if it is not disposed of properly. Changing to mercury-free LEDs and using fewer light bulbs means reducing waste and conserving resources.
While retrofitting has a myriad of benefits, we’ve decided to focus on these four today. Don’t ever believe the lie that retrofits are not as good as new LED fixtures. This may just be a fabrication created by dishonest manufacturers looking to make a quick buck.
At The Lighting Center, we sell both retrofits and new fixtures so you can be sure we’re not trying to promote one product over the other. The retrofit kits we sell are just as good as the new LED fixtures. Talk to us today and we’ll help you choose the best kits for your building.