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Something You Need to Know About High Bay Lighting
2020-09-16

Something You Need to Know About High Bay Lighting

What are high-bay lights?

As their name implies, high-bay lights are used to illuminate spaces with high ceilings. That usually means ceilings ranging from 20 feet to approximately 45 feet. Low-bay lights, on the other hand, are used for ceilings 20 feet and under. Because a high-ceiling location has more space to fill, a high-bay by definition is a powerful light source that can brighten up a large area.


Given their placement, high-bay lights are natural fits for commercial and industrial uses. They have multiple applications across a range of industries, including workshops, factories, and assembly lines. You will also see high-bay lights in large recreational facilities and gyms. These lights are excellent for illuminating storage facilities and warehouses as well. They can be used for large conference halls, event centers, or indeed for any place that needs lighting from an elevation of more than 20 feet. They are even used in hangars and other large, cavernous buildings.


One of the benefits of high-bay lighting is that it provides clear, uniform lighting of whats below it with little glare. Different kinds of reflectors can accomplish different kinds of illumination tasks for high-bay lights. Aluminum reflectors make light from the fixtures flow directly down to the floor, while prismatic reflectors create a more diffused lighting useful for illuminating shelves and other elevated objects in space.


Numerous types of fixtures can be used when setting up high-bay lights. These include LED lights, induction lights, metal halide lights, and fluorescent lights. Each of these types of high-bay fixtures has its pros and cons. For instance, LED lights to offer extremely long life and energy efficiency but require a bigger initial investment, while traditional incandescent lights are less expensive to purchase initially but dont last as long and use more energy.

AntLux UFO LED High Bay Light Commercial Grade Area Warehouse Workshop Hanging Lighting Fixtures

Besides having different costs and efficiencies, there are several types of fixtures available for high-bay lights. Round high-bay lights, linear high-bays, architectural high-bays, and grid-mount high-bays all offer different light qualities and coverage styles. The type of light best for you can depend on your personal taste as well as what tasks youll be performing under it.


Whenever a large indoor space needs to be illuminated, high bay lighting is usually appropriate. Consider spaces like manufacturing facilities, gymnasiums, warehouses, large department stores, factories, and more; these facilities are typically vast and cover a lot of vertical as well as horizontal space. This requires powerful lighting to provide the appropriate foot-candle levels to adequately illuminate. High bay lighting fixtures typically hang from the ceiling via hooks, chains, or pendants, or they may be fixed to the ceiling directly (similar to troffer lights).


Various industries and facilities require high bay lighting. Some of the most common are:


Warehouses

Industrial facilities

Manufacturing facilities

School and university gymnasiums

Municipal facilities like community centers or recreation centers

Commercial applications like department stores


Why choose LED high bay lights instead of metal halide, fluorescent, or other conventional high bay lights?

Historically, various lighting technologies were (and still are) used in warehouse and industrial settings when high bay lights were required. Some of the most common include metal halide (MH), high-pressure sodium (HPS), and fluorescent. While each of these bulbs has its merits, industrial LED lighting outperforms its conventional counterparts in important ways. Lets take a look at some of the various considerations when deciding whether an LED retrofit is appropriate for your warehouse or industrial space.


Industrial LED lighting vs metal halide high bay lights: 

If youve ever been to a ballgame, you've likely seen metal halide illuminating the field. MH lamps are common in sporting and warehouse/industrial uses (as well as any setting where large, high spaces need to be illuminated). Benefits of MH lights include decent color rendering and comparatively adequate foot-candle levels (as opposed to other types of conventional bulbs). Some of their major drawbacks are a long time to warm up (sometimes 15-30 minutes) and a high cost to maintain, and their failure characteristics include flickering on and off. This is in addition to the fact that much of the energy they produce is wasted as heat. Read more about LED versus Metal Halide Lights.

AntLux 2FT Linear LED High Bay Light Fixture Industrial Indoor Workshop Garage High Bay LED Lighting

LED high bay lighting vs high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights: 

HPS lights are often used in warehouse, industrial, business, and recreational facilities where high bay lighting is appropriate. Their benefits include cheap selling price, high energy efficiency (low operating costs), and a relatively long lifespan. HPS lighting technology retains these advantages over most conventional bulbs, but they lose on all three counts to LED high bay lighting. The downsides of HPS bulbs include the worst color rendering on the market and a warm-up period. Read more about LED versus High Pressure and Low-Pressure Sodium Lights.


Industrial LED lighting vs fluorescent lighting: 

Though somewhat less common, fluorescent lighting is sometimes utilized in the warehouse or industrial applications (primarily T12, T8, and T5 lights). The benefits of fluorescent lights include cheaper initial costs and relatively high efficiency (especially when compared to other conventional bulbs). Downsides include the presence of toxic mercury (which requires certain waste disposal procedures), decreased lifetime if switched on and off, and require a ballast to stabilize the light.


What are the three major benefits of using LED lighting technology for all applications, including high bay?


Its no secret that LED lighting technology has surpassed the capabilities of conventional lighting in important ways. In addition to the considerations discussed above, there are three general benefits of LED lighting that apply to all lighting applications.


Decreased maintenance requirements. 

As discussed above, LED lights have a lifespan that is four to forty times longer than many conventional bulbs. This means fewer replacements for bulbs that wear out. LED lighting technology also generates light differently than typical fuel and filament lighting by using a diode (learn more in this blog). This means that there are fewer moving pieces to break, and consequently, fewer repairs or replacements. Maintenance is an especially important consideration when it comes to industrial lighting or warehouse lighting. By definition, high bay lights have higher mounting heights, which means that changing a bulb requires some specialized equipment or creativity. Scaffolding, catwalks, and hydraulic lifts are generally used to swap or replace bulbs, and each of these can result in additional maintenance or equipment costs. Again, the lifespan of industrial LED lighting means that fixtures need to be changed much less often, which means savings for your bottom line.


Improved lighting quality.

 Industrial LED lighting and high bay lights will typically score better in head-to-head comparisons against most other bulbs when it comes to color rendering index (CRI), correlated color temperature (CCT), and foot candles. CRI is a measurement of a lights ability to reveal the actual color of objects as compared to an ideal light source (natural light). In non-technical terms, CCT generally describes the glowgiven off by a bulb - is it warm (reddish), or cold (bluish white)? Foot candles compare the amount of light coming from a source and the amount of light hitting the desired surface; theyre basically a measure of efficiency. On all three fronts, LED lights perform very well. (Read more about CRI, CCT, and foot candles here.)

AntLux 80W 4ft LED Shop Light Fixture for Garage Utility Led High Bay Light

Increased energy efficiency. 

Not only do LED lights generate light differently, they also distribute light differently than conventional lighting solutions, which results in less energy required to provide the same output. How does that work? First, many conventional lights waste a lot of the energy they produce by emitting it as heat (this is especially the case with metal halide lighting). Second, most conventional lights are omnidirectional, which means that the output light in 360 degrees. So, a lot of light is wasted pointing at a ceiling or being diluted because it has to be redirected through the use of fixtures. Industrial LED lighting for applications that require high bay lights eliminates these two problems of wasted energy (through heat loss and omnidirectional emission).


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