Selecting HighBay Alternatives for Conventional Lighting Systems




High bay lights are fixtures that are usually found in large, open spaces with high ceilings like warehouses, factories, gymnasiums, industrial facilities, loading docks, big box retail stores, and sports arenas. These lights are normally used in areas with ceiling heights above 20 feet.

High bay lighting fixtures have to illuminate large vertical and horizontal spaces and must have a very high lumen output. Many of these fixtures are designed in such a way that they produce diffused light which reduces glare. The fixtures are usually mounted using hooks or chains but they can also be mounted on a ceiling, it all depends on the design.




The luminaires installed in high bay applications usually have a very high lumen output, 15,000-100,000 lumens per luminaire. The fixtures normally operate for at least 12 hours every day, which makes them very good candidates for energy-saving alternatives.

It is important to note that high bay lights cannot be used in low bay applications as the spaces will be overpowered by the light. On the other hand, low bay fixtures cannot be mounted on very high ceilings as the light spread will be insufficient and the spaces will be poorly illuminated.

Generally, high bay lights are suitable for ceilings that are 20 feet or higher. However, they can also be mounted on ceilings that are 15-20 feet, depending on the settings. When high bays are used in the right places, they provide bright, uniform light. The lights normally feature heavy-duty construction and offer long-lasting performance.

Trends in High Bay Lighting

For the longest time, high intensity discharge lamps (high pressure sodium, metal halide, and mercury vapor lamps) dominated the high bay market. But when high-output linear fluorescent lamps were introduced, they took the place of many HID lamps. In recent years, LED high bay fixtures that offer high energy savings have replaced both HID and fluorescent lights. These lights also offer many other benefits that were not offered by the two older lighting technologies.

A research study conducted by the Department of Energy in 2016 showed that LED market penetration had risen to 12.6% and 874 million units had been installed up to that time. The department also projects that LED lighting will achieve a market share of 84% by the year 2030.

When it comes to performance, LED high-bays lead all the other lighting systems. These days, the big drivers in new construction projects are energy saving opportunities and energy codes. For high bay applications that already use traditional lights, retrofitting can be the best way to switch to LED technology.

Utility companies normally give rebates that support LED technology, especially for very efficient luminaires and controls. Industrial facilities and businesses are also converting to LED because of government regulations that limit the availability of less-efficient lights and ballasts.

 

Several years ago, there were no LED bulbs that were better than T5 fluorescent lamps. LED manufacturers were only making LEDs that could replace 250W-450W HID lamps. Today, the best LEDs compete with – and have surpassed – the most efficient fluorescent lights and have been well embraced because of the savings they offer.

5 Biggest Reasons Why LED HighBays Are Better Than Traditional Lights


1.    Low Energy Consumption, Which Translates to Savings

This is the biggest reason why businesses, organizations, and institutions upgrade to LED technology. As we explained earlier, high bay applications usually require light fixtures with a very high lumen output. If you use 1000-watt high pressure sodium lights in your warehouse, each light may produce between 60,000 and 100,000 lumens initially (but not for very long).

However, a 1000-watt HPS lamp can’t work without a ballast, which also draws a significant amount of electricity. Each of the lights in your space will pull 1150 watts of energy. If you have 50 of these lights, they will draw 57,500 watts of energy. Can you imagine how high your power bill will be?

LEDs do not need a lot of watts to produce many lumens. And because LED technology is always advancing, new generation LEDs consume even fewer watts to produce a lot of lumens. By the end of 2017, the most efficient high-bay LED fixture listed on the Department of Energy's Lighting Facts database was an 108W luminaire that generates more than 22,000 lumens. This light has a luminous efficacy of 210 lm/W.

When it comes to LEDs, lumens determine the brightness and luminous efficacy (lm/W) indicates the lumens the light source produces for each watt of energy it consumes. LEDs with a higher luminous efficacy are more efficient than those with a lower one.

If you come across a LED product you like and the luminous efficacy is not given, simply divide the lumens it generates by the watts it consumes. My LED Lighting Guide manufactures LEDs with a very high luminous efficacy. Our 75W-125W LEDs emit between 155-165 lumens and come with a warranty of 10 years.

Another thing to look at is the number of LED chips in a fixture. Go for lights that have more LED chips as they won't work extra hard to emit sufficient light, and in the process lower the fixture’s lifespan.


2.    Better Light Quality

Light bulbs are not made equal. Each has a different quality of light, which determines how people see the objects it illuminates.

One thing that differentiates LED lights from conventional lights is their higher Color Rendering Index (CRI). CRI is a measurement of a light’s ability to show the true colors of items compared to a perfect light source like sunlight. CRI compares how a light reflects and reveals the colors of the objects it illuminates.

The sun is usually used as a reference because it has a perfect Color Rendering Index of 100. The spectrum of light it generates is very smooth, there are no spikes. It is also used as a reference because it’s the light our eyes have evolved under

Because LEDs have a high Color Rendering Index, the light they produce shows the true colors of objects. Bulbs with a CRI of 85 or more render colors very well. A good rule of thumb is to never choose bulbs with a CRI of less than 80.

Fluorescent lights also have a high Color Rendering Index. However, an alternating current (AC) powers the lights so they have a tendency to flicker, causing eye strain and headaches. And while LEDs are also powered by an alternating current, their drivers convert the current into direct current (DC). For this reason, they do not flicker.


3.    LEDs Can Be Coupled with Lighting Controls

Lowering a facility’s energy consumption makes perfect business sense. It not only helps a company to save money, it can enhance its reputation by showing that the business is at the forefront in the fight against environmental degradation.

While light emitting diodes can reduce energy consumption by up to 75%, consumption can go down by up to 90% if LEDs are paired with lighting controls. Controls like dimmers, photosensors, occupancy sensors, motion sensors, and timers can automatically switch lights on and off as needed, saving energy.

HID lights, which are mostly used in high bay applications, do not work well with lighting controls because of their long warm up and cool down times. Some new generation LEDs work excellently with dimmers and their light output can be dimmed to 10%, unlike fluorescent lights whose light output can only be dimmed up to 30%. Dimming LEDs is also smooth and seamless, not step-level as is the case with fluorescent lighting.


4.    Short Payback Period

LEDs not only help you to save the planet, they help you to save money. When you upgrade your traditional lighting system to LED technology, your investment will pay for itself in a very short time.

At My LED Lighting Guide, we use the 1+1+1 to determine the payback period of a LED project.

1= cost of electricity

1= the hours of operation for the lights

1= rebates

If the cost of electricity in your area is high (15 kw/h and above) and the lights are on for approximately 12 hours a day, you will recoup your investment sooner than you would if the cost of electricity was lower (10 kw/h or less).

The rebates are usually last on our list because some utilities only offer rebates for specific LED products (like those with a DLC premium rating). In addition, rebates offered by a utility may be cancelled by the high cost of electricity or the many hours of use.

While it's great to get a rebate, you shouldn't let it worry you too much because we have formulated many proposals for our clients (who never got rebates) and they were able to get back the money they invested in 1 year or less.


5.    Low Maintenance Costs

HID lighting systems may have been the most efficient at one time, but they no longer are. Compared to LEDs, these lights have shorter lifetimes (15,000-25,000 hours) and they have to be used with ballasts, which have even shorter lifespans.

High intensity discharge lights also lose their lumens very fast and may have to be replaced before they get to the end of their lives. Because these fixtures are usually mounted very high, electricians normally replace them en masse since changing single fixtures can be very costly. Their maintenance costs are very high because numerous replacement bulbs are bought simultaneously and money is also spent on labor.

LEDs have long lifespans (50,000-100,000 hours), do not use ballasts, and have built-in heat sinks for heat dissipation.


Let Us Help You Choose the Best (LED) HighBay Fixtures

Our 10 years of experience in the LED industry have given us a wealth of knowledge. We know that the secret to good LED lighting lies in the optics. The optics we use in our LEDs effectively control the illumination pattern and deliver the light where it needs to go.

We have installed LED high-bay lights in warehouses, industrial facilities, gymnasiums, and many other indoor spaces with high ceilings. We always ensure the fixtures are evenly spaced for the right light spread. Our fixtures are DLC Certified and UL Listed.

We have the answers to all your questions on LED highbay lighting. Give us a call so we can discuss your project.



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