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The Importance of Lighting Design in Industrial Spaces

Lighting is one of the most important elements of any industrial facility, whether it’s a warehousing or factory environment. At most industrial sites there are various high risk tasks that involve working with heavy machinery, raw materials, corrosive chemicals, and high spaces. A large number of workers are often working on different tasks at the same industrial site. Thus, proper industrial lighting application design in an industrial space is vital to enhance visibility, safety, and overall productivity. 


Lighting design in warehouse facility


Light Fixtures for industrial lighting application facilities typically require higher lumen outputs, occupancy controls, and environmental durability. Previously, the most common lighting fixtures in industrial settings have been fluorescent and high intensity discharge (HID) lights. Recently, light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures have arrived as a more cost-effective and energy efficient lighting source for both low bay and high bay applications. The benefits of industrial led lighting include being highly efficient, using over 50% less energy, and longer lasting. LED lighting in industrial spaces can reduce operational costs and energy saving.


In this post we will be analyzing the importance of industrial led lighting and how to achieve it through identifying:


  1. Considerations for Lighting Designs

  2. Common Lighting Design Mistakes 


It is important to note that every industrial facility is different so there is no one-size-fits-all solution.


Considerations for Lighting Designs

The best lighting for any space is integrated into the architecture of the space to enhance and highlight the prominent areas of the space for activity to occur. When you are creating a lighting design for an industrial space, you should keep it simple and consider five factors:


  1. Foot Candle Requirements (Amount of Light Needed)

  2. Visual Comfort

  3. Fixture Classifications

  4. Lighting Audit

  5. Utilization of Lighting Controls


Amount of Light Needed - Lighting in any space can be measured in “foot-candles,” or the number of lumens per square foot. In order to determine the number of lumens per square foot you must factor in the height of the ceiling where the lights will be installed and the type of work being done in the facility. Working with large items requires less precise lighting while working with small items requires a brighter setup. Many warehouse or distribution facilities should require an average of 30 foot-candles.  Any vendor of lighting products should be able to provide their customers with Photometric Layouts that provide foot-candle calculations.


Visual Comfort - To provide visual comfort within an industrial space it is important to consider the luminance ratios, color rendering, and color temperature (CCT). Luminance ratio is the ability to see detail due to the contrast between the task detail and its background. The greater the contrast, the easier it is to see the task. Color rendering impacts the accuracy of contrast and visual clarity. In order to read labels clearly and properly identify safety colors used to highlight possible hazardous situations in a warehouse the Color Rendering Index (CRI) should be above 80 for optimal light color. The right color temperature of industrial lighting can heavily impact the overall atmosphere of a space, as well as increase worker productivity. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin and gauges how “white” emitted from an LED light appears. The lower the number of Kelvin degrees, the yellower and warmer the color of the lighting appears. The higher the number of Kelvin degrees, the bluer and cooler the lighting appears.


Lighting Fixture Consideration - It is important to understand the application of each type of lighting fixture in order to select the correct fixture for the space. In classified areas of an industrial space, where there is exposure to flammable vapors, combustible dust, or ignitable fibers, the correct hazardous location lighting is crucial. In general, industrial high-intensity-discharge (HID) light fixtures are generally divided into two categories, high-bay and low-bay areas. 

In a high-bay area, the spacing-to-mounting-height ratio is 1.0 or less, and the mounting height is not less than 25 feet

In a low-bay area, the spacing-to-mounting-height ratio is more than 1.0, and the mounting height is less than 25 feet.


Lighting Audit - It is crucial before installing any new lighting design to perform a lighting audit assessment of the industrial space. A lighting audit assessment will be able to determine the energy currently being used from the facility’s existing lighting and where there is need for improvement. Through the audit we can determine if parts of the building require more lighting, which parts must be lit at the same time, and efficient lighting options that can be installed throughout the space. 


Utilization of Lighting Controls - Natural light can also help boost workers’ energy and overall mood which can enhance production. Daylight Harvesting Sensors work to retain the same level of brightness in an area by decreasing the LED light output and augmenting it with natural light. Daylight Harvesting Sensors can be combined with Occupancy Sensors, which use infrared light to detect if a space is unoccupied and accordingly automatically turn off or dim the lights. Occupancy Sensors can even turn the lights on automatically upon detecting an occupant in the space, providing additional convenience and security. By using these devices to detect more daylight, the less electricity you will use ultimately saving you both energy and money. 


Common Lighting Design Mistakes

Poor lighting in an industrial space can lead to poor working performance, headaches, errors, or even injury. Some common lighting design mistakes that can result in poor lighting include:


  1. Under-Illuminating

  2. Glares and Shadows

  3. Improperly Mounted Lighting Fixtures


Under-Illuminating - Poor lighting in an industrial space can be a safety hazard and lead to incidents and injuries. When there is insufficient lighting in an industrial space, the light is not being dispersed evenly and can make parts of the building appear darker, causing workers’ eyes to over compensate. This is considered a health hazard as too little light strains the workers’ eyes which can lead to headaches and negatively affect the quality of work, specifically where precision is required, and overall productivity. Under-illuminating an industrial space can also give it a “cave appearance” if all lighting fixtures are facing directly downward, leaving ceilings and high walls in the dark. 


Glares and Shadows - Glare and shadow are one of the most common mistakes in lighting design for industrial lighting performance. Glares are a result of improper direct lighting or reflections that can lead to eye-strain, headache, decreased visibility and other discomforts that can negatively impact the workers. 


Improperly Mounted Lighting Fixtures - Lighting fixtures must be properly secured so that they do not give way or fall over at any point. Improperly installed lighting can also create issues regarding uneven light, which ultimately alters your original design. It is also important to mount lighting fixtures far enough apart to prevent overcrowding and a higher energy bill.

Good lighting design is crucial for creating a functional, comfortable, and attractive commercial space. The right lighting can improve visibility and safety, enhance productivity, create atmosphere, and highlight key features. Contact us at Stouch Lighting today to help you design the most efficient and effective lighting design for your industrial space.