Energy Efficient Warehouse Lighting

Over the past 3 decades as an electrician (and more as a warehouse 
worker), I've seen a lot of lighting schemes. And I've watched in 
interest as lighting has evolved from bare incandescent bulbs and HID 
lamp to modern LED luminaires.<br><br>Back in the day, incandescent 
lighting produced a lot of shadows... and heat. It was the nature of the
 beast, unfortunately. Not to mention that most of the money spent on 
lighting energy was more or less wasted on heat, not light. Philips Lighting

Steve Maurer, IME

Over the past 3 decades as an electrician (and more as a warehouse worker), I've seen a lot of lighting schemes. And I've watched in interest as lighting has evolved from bare incandescent bulbs and HID lamp to modern LED luminaires.

Back in the day, incandescent lighting produced a lot of shadows... and heat. It was the nature of the beast, unfortunately. Not to mention that most of the money spent on lighting energy was more or less wasted on heat, not light.

Fluorescent lamps cut down on the heat and were more efficient stewards of the energy bill. And rows of them lit up many warehouses adequately. But, most were not dimmable, and thus were either off or full on.

Of course, additionally wiring could be installed to separate adjacent fixtures to create a simple lighting scheme. In order to allow workers safe passage when fork trucks were "sleeping," every other light or similar schemas could be employed.

However, that was a manual solution... automation would really help. So motion detectors were often used. Even so, energy efficiency wasn't optimal.

Enter the LED luminaire... wirelessly connected to it's companion fixtures. With occupancy detection and dimming capability, warehouse lighting becomes not only energy efficient, but safer as well.

And with programmable features, groups of luminaires can be ganged together in zones. Only the zones where motion exists are lit to full, 100% output. When motion ceases in the area, the lighting is dimmed or even shut off.

The programming is done through a wireless remote and can be customize or reconfigured easily. For example, if certain related products reside together, zoning the light for that area makes picking more efficient, while at the same time reducing energy consumption in outlying, unrelated areas.

The lighting won't shut down too soon, either. A single sensor may pick up motion and turn the zone on. However, all fixtures must sense non-movement before shutting down or dimming the area.

If an emergency generator circuit is present, specific luminaires can be configured to light the path for safe egress.
Warehouse operations are the only places this smarter lighting can be employed, either. Gymnasiums, sports complexes, manufacturing floor and any large occupancy can use these systems to improve lighting efficiency while still saving on energy costs.

I'm a bit of a science fiction fanatic. I'd often watch the automated lighting work wonders in movies about space stations and star ships. I'd think to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool if that was possible now, instead of in the future?"

Well, this futuristic lighting is available today, thanks to programmable LED luminaires.


Photo courtesy of Philips Lighting

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