How to light your warehouse

All businesses accept that warehouses are a necessary burden to their business, so lighting them should be as simple and cost-effective as possible. Being cost-effective, however, does not mean going for the cheapest option. The less that gets spent on lighting, the more will get spent on dealing with safety issues, mistakes occurring, staff turnover and general incompetence. This guide should give you some ideas of what to consider when looking at lighting your warehouse.

Your warehouse landscape

Warehouses are usually high structures, with plenty of height for vertical tiered storage, and the closer your storage gets to the roof, the more lighting you will need to consider. You will need lighting that is dedicated to your aisle layout, so that all areas are covered and equal. The rule of thumb is that a lighting installation that is dedicated to an aisle layout will be more expensive than an installation that provides overall illumination, but the added cost has to be offset against the greater storage efficiency achieved by multiple storage tiers.

Lighting controls

Warehouses are often used 24 hours a day, therefore lighting could get expensive to run, however, it might not always be necessary to illuminate the entire building for the entire opening time. Lighting controls are becoming a regular component of aisle-lighting schemes. If there is no one working within a particular aisle or space, then the lighting automatically drops to a lower level, reducing energy spend.

Using natural light

Free, natural light is always available, providing that you are prepared to make holes in your warehouse roof for an initial installation cost. Roof lights make a huge difference to the cost of lighting for warehouses, however, you also need to factor in maintenance costs, especially during Winter and adverse weather conditions. Occasionally, roof lights can also bring in too much sunlight, which could have an adverse effect on products, depending on what you are storing, so be sure to take this into consideration too.

Lighting sources – the options

There are two main light sources that are currently used for warehouse lighting. Metal halide lights are the first. Over the years, these lamps have improved in their colour rendering, wattages, and shape, however, everything that a metal halide lamp offers can now be delivered better via LED lighting. The important of LED lighting is that it can also be dimmed when needed. Despite attempts to dim the metal halide lamp, it hasn’t yet happened, and in these energy-conscious times, this is a pretty crucial feature. Of course, LED lighting has taken over in almost every lighting sector. It is a very efficient source and continues to get even brighter. A good LED luminaire will hold its own against any other type of fixture, and LED lights are also available in a range of formats. LED panel lights are a good option, providing even light distribution with minimal shadowing – a problem, which is often associated with fluorescent tubes and backlit LED lights. 

Using technology

Technology has made it possible that lighting installations can now be fitted with daylight linking, so that maximum benefit is made of the available natural daylight light, with artificial lighting cranking up when needed. Also, modern lighting is now being fitted with self-checking circuitry that can report back to a central monitoring system if a fault occurs within the fixture. And with the advent of new technologies such as Li-Fi (Light Fidelity), where digital information can be transmitted to hand-held devices via an LED lighting installation, we can expect to see logistics management taken to exciting new levels.