4 Smartest Warehouse Lighting Strategies

Warehouses represent about 16 percent of commercial building space nationwide, and therefore represent a significant source of potential savings. As of 2011, according to a report published by the Illinois smart energy design center, lighting accounted for 41 percent of the total energy costs for warehouses. Integrating daylighting and choosing efficient lamps, fixtures and controls can both save money and improve working conditions. Here are four of the best warehouse lighting strategies.

1. Maximize Daylighting

Warehouse spaces can minimize the need for electric lighting during daylight hours, while providing good vertical illumination of stored materials, by integrating daylighting. This can be accomplished by taking advantage of existing top-lighting (skylights), or working these into the design of additions or new facilities. In most warehouses, the main task surface is vertical. It’s imperative that appropriate illumination is provided (daylighting and electric lighting provide) on the face of the racking and into storage areas.

2. Upgrade Electric Lighting System

As a rule, choose efficient linear fluorescent technology or LED fixtures instead of HID options. A properly designed warehouse lighting system provides uniform light distribution (down the aisles), instant-on technology, and has compatibility with multiple lighting control options. If you replace T-12 fluorescents newer technology, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the quick return on investment. For exit signs, use LED lamps, which use a small fraction (one-tenth or less) of the energy required for compact fluorescent or incandescent lamps and last at least 10 years.

3. Pay Special Attention to Lighting in Areas near Windows

If skylights are installed, electric lighting can be controlled so it adapts to the changing daylight and automatically reduces its power to save energy. This can be accomplished through the installation of automatic daylight harvesting controls that continuously dim or switch electric lights in response to daylight.

4. Turn off All Unused Lights

Use a combination of warehouse lighting control strategies such as scheduling, occupancy sensors, daylight harvesting, bilevel switching and dimming to turn lights off or down when not needed, and you’ll see a major uptick in efficiency. In some cases you can even use occupancy sensor controls on luminaries already controlled by daylight dimming/switching systems.

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