Best Practices for Implementing LED Lighting in Warehouses and Fulfillment Centers

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LED lighting technology has revolutionized the way we light up our spaces, and warehouses and fulfillment centers are no exception. Better lit environments have been demonstrated time and time again to have profound impacts on employee productivity, safety, and overall job satisfaction. Improved efficiency helps to slash yearly energy consumption by 80+%. Modern fixture technologies now last over 100,000 hours, substantially reducing maintenance demands.

But while the benefits of LED are abundant, not all LED solutions are created equal. Low-performance product, subpar design plans, and poor implementation can quickly plummet the project’s ROI, or even create potential safety hazards.

If you are considering an LED upgrade for your warehouse or fulfillment center, be sure to read these best practices to feel confident in your investment decision.

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Advantages of Implementing LED in Warehouses and Fulfillment Centers

LED lighting solutions outperform traditional fluorescent lighting and metal halide fixtures in almost every aspect.

Greater efficacy. Due to greater directional control and less wasted heat, LED lights are substantially more energy efficient option that can significantly lower energy costs. LEDs can use up to 80% less energy than metal halide or fluorescent lighting, making them a smart investment for warehouses and fulfillment centers keen on enhancing their energy efficiency.

Impressive lifespans. A significant advantage of LEDs is their impressive lifespan. As efficacy has substantially improved over recent years, modern LED light fixtures can operate efficiently for over 100,000 hours or more. Compared to traditional lighting systems, the reduction in maintenance and replacement costs is staggering. This not only reduces maintenance costs, but prevents a potential safety incident for every time a bulb needs to be replaced (or, on the other hand, doesn’t get replaced).

Smarter control systems. A major advantage for LED is their ability to be programmed into intelligent control systems to automatically turn on, off, brighten or dim. Control systems can help to preserve energy by an additional 10-20% (or more!), while also capturing more data around the lighting system for improved system monitoring capabilities.

Recommended Light Levels and Color Temperature for Warehouses

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Optimal warehouse light levels will vary depending on the unique characteristics of the facility and the activities happening in the space. The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) recommends an average of 10 to 30 foot-candles for general warehouse lighting. However, an active area of the facility where items are frequently accessed will typically require a higher maintained average foot-candle compared to a less active part of the facility.

Color temperature is also important when considering warehouse lighting. The most effective color temperatures for warehouse applications range between 4000K and 5000K. This mimics daylight and provides a crisp, clean light that is comfortable for the eye and ideal for working environments.

Networked Lighting Controls for Warehouses and Fulfilment Centers

As noted before, embracing advancements with networked lighting control systems (NLCs) can streamline operations and optimize energy usage within warehouses. This advanced solution allows for centralized control over all lighting fixtures, automatically adjusting brightness based on time of day, occupancy, and even natural light availability (known as ‘daylight harvesting’). Task tuning and zonal management strategies can also be used to optimize light levels for the operational activities happening in the space.

Moreover, NLCs can interact seamlessly with other warehouse systems such as security and HVAC, resulting in an integrated building management solution. When you implement NLCs, you not only enhance the benefits of LED lighting but also extend the lifespan of your fixtures and boost workforce productivity.

Advantages of Photometric Design Plans for Warehouses and Fulfillment Centers

A well-lit warehouse isn’t just about throwing more light into the space; it’s about strategically placing the right type of lighting where it’s needed the most. This is where photometric design plans come into play.

Photometric plans use data about the warehouse layout, reflectivity, color of your space, grid design, and existing technology to create a detailed lighting plan that measures exactly what you can expect from you LED upgrade. Photometric plans ensure for optimal light distribution, minimizes shadows, eliminates excessive fixtures, and allows for achieving optimal foot-candles using the least energy possible.

These plans are crucial in warehouses, where specific tasks require varying light levels. By adopting a photometric design plan, you can enhance safety, improve productivity, and further maximize the efficiency of your LED lighting system.

Efficient Warehouse Lighting Practices

To maximize the benefits of LED lighting, it’s important to develop a comprehensive strategy. This includes considering the specific needs of the space, such as ceiling heights and areas with special requirements.

Consider a layered approach, combining general, task, and safety lighting. Opt for high bay LED lights in areas with high ceilings, and supplement with low bay or task lights in areas where detailed work is performed. Safety lighting, such as vapor tight fixtures, is crucial in wet or dusty areas.

Regular maintenance is also key to keeping your LED lighting system operating efficiently over the long term. While LED lights require less maintenance than traditional lights, they still need periodic cleaning and inspection.

Working with a Professional: Find Your Optimal LED Solution for Your Warehouse or Fulfilment Center

Implementing an efficient LED lighting system in a warehouse is not just about purchasing and replacing fixtures. It requires a comprehensive understanding of your space, lighting needs, and energy usage. This is where lighting professionals like PEC can play a vital role.

Professional lighting consultants and installers possess the expertise to assess your warehouse and recommend the best solutions for your specific needs. They can provide you with photometric design plans and source the optimal fixtures best suited for your goals and budget; they are well-versed in networked lighting controls and can recommend the best systems to integrate with your existing warehouse operations; and they are experts in installing and managing these systems, providing you with the crucial guidance in navigating challenges and obstacles along the way.

Turn-key providers may even help you with researching utility incentives and rebates (PEC is happy to provide incentive management with our team of in-house incentive specialists) to help you take full advantage of any utility incentives to help maximize your ROI. Customers can also ensure seamless project deployment, proper installation, lifelong warranty support, and adherence to OSHA/IES safety standards, which is critical in a large-scale environment such as a warehouse.

Investing in professional services for your LED lighting implementation is, therefore, a wise decision. It not only saves you time but also ensures that you’re getting the most out of your lighting upgrade. By capitalizing on our expertise, you can create an optimal lighting environment that promotes efficiency, safety, and productivity in your warehouse or fulfillment center.

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