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Selecting Lighting For Your Warehouse

by Kelly Roberts

Lighting a large space is never an easy task, and it can be especially difficult for warehouses and other commercial spaces where consistent lighting is important for both safety and smooth operations. Adding to this challenge is the fact that most large warehouses have extremely high ceilings, further complicating the type and number of lights required to provide sufficient illumination. Of course, this isn't a new problem, and there are a wide array of options available to make sure that your warehouse is properly, safely, and efficiently lit.

Bay Lighting Explained

Bay lighting generally refers to very high output lighting fixtures used for various commercial spaces. These are commonly found in warehouses, but they are also used in large retail spaces, on factory floors, and often in open floor plan offices that have been installed in converted spaces with high ceilings. LED high bay lighting comes in a number of different forms and multiple options are available for the light source itself, but their most consistent characteristic is their high power requirements and strong light output.

High Bay vs. Low Bay Lighting

Although many industry terms can be confusing, high and low bay lighting is fairly descriptive. High bay lights are, unsurprisingly, designed to be installed in commercials areas with high ceilings. By contrast, low bay lights are intended for smaller spaces with lower ceilings. Typical warehouses make use of high bay lighting, both because the actual ceilings tend to be higher and because there are more obstructions which the light sources must be powerful enough to illuminate.

What makes one type of bay lighting more suitable for certain spaces? As a general rule, it's a matter of power output. Since high bay lights are designed to be placed higher up and cover a larger area, they are almost always higher output lighting fixtures. They also have narrower beam angles, since their higher placement means a narrower beam will illuminate a larger area. Conversely, low bay lights have a lower output and are wider to compensate for their physically lower placement.

Advantages of Choosing LED Bay Lights

Once you've selected the appropriate style of lighting for your space, the final step is to choose which light source to use. While HID lighting has traditionally been the industry standard in commercial spaces, these bulbs are extremely expensive to operate. This was a necessary cost in the past, as their high output was necessary to effectively cover large areas. Fortunately, LED lights now offer a better alternative for new installations or upgrades.

While HIDs can still be found in some warehouses, LEDs present many advantages. In addition to much cheaper operating costs, LEDs also have a lifespan that greatly exceeds the alternatives. This further reduces their overall costs since, in most cases, you will be replacing your lights five or even more times less frequently. LED lights also avoid the warm up and cool down inherent with HID lights, which can be advantageous if your warehouse is prone to power losses or if sections of your lighting are shut down when not in use.