How to properly light commercial warehouses


Feb 14, 2006

Studies have repeatedly shown proper lighting in warehouses and other commercial spaces contributes significantly to profitability in the form of improved employee productivity and safety. Yet getting the ideal results continues to allude many. McGill, a leading manufacturer of lighting solutions, offers these common-sense tips to help brighten warehouses.

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1. Keep fixtures and lamps spotless. Regular cleaning increases light output by much as 25%. A ventilated light fixture will accumulate less dirt but may not be appropriate in areas subject to heavy grime and moisture. There, use a gasketed, enclosed fixture.

2. Increasing the brightness of a ceiling with paint or by using luminaries with high uplight will reduce glare by minimizing the contrast between the ceiling and the light. To further reduce glare, install a fixture with a lens or louver to shield the lamp.

3. Eyestrain is a direct result of non-uniform light fixture spacing. Comply with the manufacturer’s recommended spacing criterion for optimal results.

4. Open spaces require a fixture designed to direct most of its light downward, while more crowded spaces, such as a warehouse with rack storage, calls for the alternative — a fixture with broad distribution.

5. Altering the floor plan, such as changing the location of storage racks in a warehouse, can require a reevaluation of the lighting plan. If these types of modifications are frequently made, the company should install a flexible wiring systems for faster changeovers. An even simpler solution is installing dimming controls.

6. Installing and maintaining fixtures in a warehouse necessitates workers to be directly positioned over forklifts and moving machinery, as well as at dangerous heights. For those reasons, specify long-life lamps so lamp maintenance is minimum.

7. Keep a low profile. When lift trucks move pallets, the lifts can easily strike light diffusers and break them, so go with low profile luminaries no more than 20 inches deep.

8. HID (high intensity discharge) luminaries provide superior illumination levels (50-60 foot-candles) when compared to standard incandescent (20 foot-candles). White light is brighter from an HID, helping employees read labels of products and preventing the warehouse from feeling dreary and dark.