How Having a Photometric Plan Saves You Money in the Long Run

How Having a Photometric Plan Saves You Money in the Long Run

Photometric plans save property owners money on every lighting project. Photometric plans save money because they:

  • Ensure the project meets the client’s needs perfectly, the first time
  • Optimize the lighting system’s energy efficiency
  • Avoid light pollution by observing dark sky regulations
  • Minimize the risk of costly mistakes or change orders

Together, these benefits boost the immediate and long-term savings for a variety of commercial projects. We will take a closer look at each of those benefits and how they can improve your lighting project’s cost efficiency.

What is a Photometric Plan and What are its Benefits?

Photometric plans are an important tool that lighting designers use to develop a lighting project before it is installed. In the hands of an experienced designer, photometric plans provide several advantages to every project. Specifically, a photometric plan can help with the following lighting solutions:

  • Sports arenas, including tennis and pickleball courts
  • Municipal parks and public areas
  • Parking lots and garages
  • Commercial retail centers
  • Department stores
  • Warehouses

In short, photometric plans make sense for any commercial space, regardless of location or layout, as they offer the following benefits:

  • Better lighting coverage
  • Better lighting quality and performance
  • Reduced glare, light trespass and lighting pollution
  • Observation of dark sky regulations
  • Reduced planning and installation time

These benefits are in addition to the cost savings that photometric plans offer, which we will address in detail next.

1) Photometric Plans Guarantee Optimal Lighting Coverage

Photometric plans simulate lighting solutions with excellent precision, and an experienced design team can use it with properties of any size, layout or purpose without compromising this precision.

For the purposes of lighting a property, precision really means “do your lights provide illumination where it’s needed, and only where it’s needed?” By optimizing the system’s coverage and distribution patterns, photometric plans ensure clients get the most useful light for every dollar spent and that the light is only dispersed where it is needed, reducing light pollution.

For example, commercial parking lots must meet minimum lighting levels to maintain safety and attract customers. The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) has even published recommendations for parking lot owners for this purpose (between one- and four-foot candles throughout the lot). Photometric planning allows lighting designers to take those recommendations and apply them before a single fixture, driver or luminaire is placed. The result is optimal lighting performance without using more fixtures than needed.

2) A Photometric Plan Maximizes Energy Efficiency

Photometric plans ensure improved energy efficiency, which saves businesses money in the long run. According to the Department of Energy, commercial properties can save thousands every year in utilities by switching to high-efficiency lighting like LEDs.

Photometric planning can further this energy efficiency mission by optimizing every fixture’s placement. As mentioned, this has significant performance benefits, which means property owners get more value from their new lights.

Optimal lighting placement also means your property will need fewer fixtures to get the illumination it needs. That means fewer fixtures to power and a lower utility load on your business.

3) Photometric Plans Ensure Adherence to Dark Sky Regulations

Light pollution is a serious problem in many areas and can have a negative effect on both humans and wildlife. In fact, at least 19 states have legislation in place that requires photometric plans to observe dark sky regulations and avoid possible fines. Lighting experts will use these plans to determine exactly where light will be needed for the project.

Lighting experts can avoid light pollution further by restricting use of upward-directed lighting, avoiding glare by using shielded fixtures, using low-wattage bulbs such as LEDs, and following the guidelines of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) to adhere to state lighting regulations.

4) Photometric Plans Reduce the Likelihood of Mistakes or Change Orders

Photometric plans provide lighting installers with a detailed approach to every project. Assuming the property was thoroughly surveyed first, a photometric plan removes much of the subjectivity and guesswork out of installation. Property owners also have a chance to see their proposed lighting solution in action beforehand, so the client and lighting team have shared expectations.

All of this smooths out the installation process and minimizes the risk of any unexpected change orders or mistakes – which are often expensive and drain time.

What Does a Photometric Plan Include?

While putting together a photometric plan, the lighting designer will first visualize the client’s space – think of it like a blank canvas that mirrors your space’s layout and area. Once it is built inside the photometric software, the designer can drag and drop various lighting fixtures in to visualize how they would look.

Photometric software uses data straight from the light’s manufacturer, which provides a mathematically precise analysis of how much illumination is reaching each part of the property. This can be measured down to the square foot and footcandle, so if your lighting design must meet tight lighting pollution or trespass requirements, photometric planning is a must.

Once the designer has positioned all lights and verified that the project’s specifications have been satisfied, this plan can be used to guide the installation team, improving their speed and precision.

Does Your Space Need New Lighting Fixtures? A Photometric Plan Will Save Your Organization Money

The modern economy has commercial and industrial property owners facing numerous cost pressures. To mitigate those pressures, property owners are turning to smarter, more efficient ways to manage their facilities. This extends to the way commercial spaces are illuminated, such as relying on energy efficient lighting and retrofit lighting solutions to save money.

Photometric planning can also save you money in the long run by improving your lighting system’s performance and efficiency. If your facilities require a lighting upgrade, or if you are building out a new facility, consult with a trusted lighting expert to see how photometric planning can reduce your lighting costs.

How to Choose the Right Parking Lot Pole

Choose the Right Parking Lot Pole

Parking lots require high quality night-time illumination to remain safe and functional at night. That starts with choosing the right parking lot lighting pole – one that will ensure even, adequate lighting coverage.

When choosing a lighting pole, the following factors need to be considered:

  • Height
  • Lighting distribution
  • Material and construction
  • Wind rating
  • Fixture compatibility

There is a variety of lighting poles available on the market, so it may not be clear which is the best fit for your parking lot. This is where an experienced lighting company can provide expert help. Professional lighting installers know what types of parking lot lighting poles make sense for a particular project and can recommend the right option for a client.

4 Things Lighting Experts Consider When Assessing A Project For The Right Lighting Poles:

1) Height and Lighting Distribution

The height of the lighting pole is a primary factor in light distribution. The taller the pole, the wider the spread of illumination, so you will typically see the tallest lighting poles in the largest parking lots. Most parking lot poles range between 12 and 30 feet in height, but taller poles may be required for expansive parking lots.

The goal is to establish an even spread of illumination throughout the parking lot, as this promotes better visibility through the space. It also prevents hotspots or shadows, which can adversely affect motorist or pedestrian vision.

Lighting experts establish even illumination using photometric modeling software, which allows lighting designers to visualize the client’s space and simulate a variety of lighting solutions. It uses manufacturer data to simulate how a particular lamp emits light – its direction, and its intensity. With a bit of experimentation, lighting designers can develop a flawless lighting solution before mounting a single fixture – including identifying the perfect pole height and placement for the property.

2) Pole Material and Construction

Lighting poles are available in a few material choices – steel, aluminum and fiberglass are the three most common. Here is a quick comparison:

  • Steel (including galvanized steel) – Steel offers superior impact strength and is a good choice for parking lots that see heavy or commercial traffic. However, unalloyed steel is susceptible to rust and corrosion, which is why manufacturers use galvanized steel in their lighting poles. Galvanized steel is a zinc-iron alloy that features improved corrosion resistance, giving it well-rounded durability. Steel is also less expensive than aluminum or fiberglass, so it offers an upfront cost advantage.
  • Aluminum – Aluminum is the lightest of the three materials and is not quite as impact-resistant as steel. It can’t bear as much weight, either, but it is naturally corrosion resistant, so aluminum light poles tend to last longer than steel poles. Aluminum lighting poles are a good fit for parking lots located near the ocean, where airborne salts pose a constant threat of corrosion.
  • Fiberglass – Fiberglass is the most expensive lighting pole material and doesn’t last quite as long as aluminum, but it offers comparable durability, is corrosion resistant and doesn’t conduct electricity. Fiberglass can be used interchangeably with aluminum in most parking lots.

Ultimately, your parking lot’s location and the traffic it receives are primary factors in choosing the right parking lot pole material.

3) The Lighting Pole’s EPA Wind Rating

Every lighting pole has an EPA (effective projected area) wind rating that specifies the maximum wind speed that the pole is expected to withstand before there is a high risk of failure. EPA wind ratings are based on the pole’s wind-exposed surface area, so size and shape must be reconsidered from every possible angle. This can make calculating wind ratings a challenge, but the difficult math has already been done for property owners.

The U.S. is divided into several wind zones, each one defined by the maximum wind speeds that wind-exposed structures should be built to handle. Houston, for example, sits in Zone III, an area where lighting poles must be fortified for winds between 110 to 165 mph. Property owners and their lighting installers should select a lighting pole that meets or exceeds this threshold, paying close attention to poles located near schools or medical facilities. The lighting expert will also help determine whether anchor-based or direct burial of the poles is the best option. Keep in mind that your lighting fixtures are also EPA-rated, so they will also need to be rated for your property’s region.

4) Poles that are Compatible with LED Fixtures

While most lighting poles are LED-capable, it is still worth verifying before installing anything. More parking lot owners are choosing LED lighting for their properties. There are several reasons for this, including improved energy efficiency, extended lamp lifespan (which means less maintenance and fewer lamp replacements), better lighting performance, and expanded controllability. In nearly every category, LED lights now surpass metal halides, high pressure sodium and fluorescent lamps in most areas – offering better night-time visibility, improved reliability, and greater installation flexibility.

For instance, LED lamps are now available in several light distribution options. Type III and IV LEDs are popular choices for parking lot applications because they throw illumination forward from the lamp, instead of pooling it around the base of the light pole. This gives installers a bit more flexibility in how they position lighting poles, and it may reduce the overall number of poles you’ll need.

The takeaway here is that it is bet to choose a set of poles that can accommodate LED lights.

A Reputable Lighting Expert Can Help Choose the Right Parking Lot Lighting Poles

Parking lots require adequate illumination through the night-time hours. To establish high-visibility, reliable lighting for their parking lots, property owners need the right lighting poles for the space. An experienced lighting installer can help their clients identify which poles will work best and use photometric modeling to position those poles for optimal lighting.

Types of LED Retrofits

Types of LED Retrofits

There are several types of LED retrofits available, and each one is defined by the type of LED fixtures used in the project. For example, the following LED fixture options are common for commercial LED retrofits:

  • LED tubes
  • LED troffers
  • LED panels
  • LED bays
  • LED strips

Retrofit LEDs are an option for nearly every setting, no matter the type of fixture your facility relies on. Further, retrofit LEDs provide the same array of benefits that a new LED lighting system offers. This includes improved energy efficiency, extended longevity, reduced maintenance, and better lighting performance.

There can be challenges during a retrofit installation, but lighting professionals are equipped to resolve them and ensure your LED lighting solution provides optimal value.

What Fixtures Can Be Used with an LED Retrofit?

Modern LED fixtures emphasize versatility. Manufacturers have focused on expanding LED’s capabilities for decades, as well as expanding the number of retrofit LED products available on the market. For commercial properties, the following retrofit LEDs are popular options:

  • LED tubes – LED tubes are designed to replace fluorescent tubes – like the ones you’d normally see in an office building. Fluorescent tubes (specifically T5s and T8s) are being phased out, but LED tubes represent a solution that businesses can quickly adopt.There are a few types of LED tubes available for retrofit projects, each with their own advantages and considerations.
  • LED troffersLED troffers are slightly recessed fixtures designed to fit into a drop ceiling. Until LED lighting’s emergence, troffers were powered by fluorescent tubes, but retrofit LEDs are now the frontline option for troffer fixtures. Like with fluorescent troffers, LED troffers are ideal for illuminating single desks or cubicles, as they emit more of their light directly downwards.LED lamps are ideal for office troffers, as LED lights emit full-spectrum illumination that people report as more comfortable. Early research suggests that offices using LED light experience a modest productivity boost.
  • LED panelsLED panels are also designed for drop ceilings but provide edge-to-edge illumination instead. This means LED panels are better suited for providing general lighting in a larger space – such as an open office.LED panels are also fitted with LED tubes. These sit behind a screen that diffuses and softens the light to minimize glare.
  • LED bays – LED bays replace metal halide lamps in both high bay and low bay fixtures. These high-output fixtures are intended for large commercial or industrial buildings, including warehouses, department stores, and industrial complexes.LED bays are available in linear and circular (UFO) designs, each with a different light distribution pattern. Linear LED bays are a better fit for buildings with long aisles, like warehouses. UFO bays are more efficient in open spaces where they can cover more area.
  • LED strips – LED strips are low profile lamps designed for task lighting applications (such as shop lights) or for retail settings. LED strip lights are typically used to replace fluorescent, halogen and incandescent fixtures as they are more efficient, more compact and longer lived.

The Three Types of Retrofit LED Tube Options

LED tubes are popular retrofit fixtures as they are a natural replacement for fluorescent tubes, which are becoming increasingly difficult to source. LED tubes offer almost all the benefits that a new LED lighting system provides, including energy savings, extended lamp lifespan and improved lighting performance.

When retrofitting LED tubes, facility managers have a few options to choose from, including:

  • Type A (plug and play) – Type A LED tubes are called plug and play because they are designed to work with the fluorescent tube’s existing ballast. As such, type A tubes are the easiest type of LED tube to install, but only if there are no issues with ballast compatibility. They cannot be used with magnetic ballasts and not every fluorescent driver is compatible with every retrofit LED tube. Installers should reference the manufacturer’s documentation to verify compatibility beforehand.Because type A LED tubes rely on the existing ballast to function, any ballast that’s several years old may need to be replaced first to protect the fixture from early failure. They are also only partially compatible with dimmers.
  • Type B (ballast bypass) – Type B LED tubes come with an integrated LED driver and therefore do not require a ballast to function. Instead, they are wired directly to the building’s mains, which is a high-risk installation project that only a certified electrician is able to safely handle. However, although they are difficult to install, type B retrofit tubes offer excellent long-term reliability. Dimming is typically limited with type B LED tubes as well.
  • Type C (remote driver) – Type C LED tubes are powered by an external LED driver (not integrated) that replaces the fluorescent ballast. These tubes unlock the full potential of LED lighting technology, providing full energy efficiency, longevity and controllability benefits. Type C tubes are the latest in retrofit LED technology and are offered by most leading lighting manufacturers. Some external LED drivers can even be tied to multiple retrofit lamps, or entire retrofit lamp arrays.
  • Type A+B (hybrid) – Some LED tubes combine the features of type A and type B LED tubes to ensure maximum compatibility with the building’s existing fixture technology. If the tube isn’t compatible with the existing ballast, it will still function because it is wired into line voltage. As such, these fixtures are the best option when installers are unsure of ballast compatibility.

Four Reasons Why Businesses are Choosing LED Retrofitting

No matter what your LED retrofit project includes, as long as it is compatible with your existing system, it will provide the following benefits:

  • Improved energy efficiency (and compliance) – LED bulbs are prized for their energy efficiency and provide a significant advantage over older lighting technologies in this area. The energy savings for businesses is considerable and can represent thousands in reduced utility bills. Further, by reducing energy consumption, companies remain ahead of toughening energy use regulations. LED retrofitting can help futureproof a facility’s lighting technology, in other words.
  • Improved fixture longevity – LED lighting lasts longer than every other lighting technology on the market. A typical metal halide lamp, for example, will provide around 10,000 hours of illumination before it fails. A fluorescent lamp may make it to 20,000 hours. On average, LED lights will provide between 50,000 and 100,000 hours of high-quality illumination before replacement is required.
  • Enhanced lighting performance – Modern LEDs are comparable (or superior) to fluorescent and metal halide lights in terms of luminous flux, intensity, color rendering and overall quality. Retrofit LED lamps output even illumination free of flaws and flicker, as long as the right retrofit fixtures are used. In settings where maximum visibility is necessary for safety or productivity reasons, LED lighting provides ample illumination.
  • Extended controllability – LED lights are compatible with almost all lighting controls, including dimmers, timers, photocells, and motion/PIR sensors. With its excellent controllability, LEDs can be adapted for an even larger range of applications. For example, LED security lighting systems offer unmatched reliability and performance if they are paired with occupancy controls.The only potential concern here is compatibility, as incomplete compatibility may lead to issues with some lighting controls.

An Expert Lighting Team Can Help with Every Type of LED Retrofit

Rising energy costs and tightening efficiency regulations have pushed businesses toward LED lighting, but a from-scratch LED lighting system is a significant upfront investment.

Business owners have a third option in retrofitting LED lighting into an existing system. LED retrofits are cost effective for most facilities and provide the most important benefits associated with LED lighting – energy efficiency, longevity, and performance.

If your facilities need a lighting upgrade but there is not sufficient room in the budget to tear out and replace the existing fixtures, a lighting expert can recommend the right LED retrofit products for your application and provide full installation services.

How to Get the Best Lighting for Volleyball Courts

How to Get the Best Lighting for Volleyball Courts

Volleyball is a fast-paced game that demands excellent lighting for safe and active play. For many facilities, LED lighting is the ideal option when determining how to get the best lighting for volleyball courts, as it offers the following advantages:

  • Unmatched energy efficiency
  • Superior lighting performance and reliability
  • A low maintenance design and extended lifespan
  • No warm-up period required
  • A full range of color temperature options
  • Excellent controllability

Whether your project requires a lighting solution from-scratch or retrofit LED lights, an experienced lighting company can match the right lights to your volleyball court. Further, lighting experts can model your volleyball courts using photometric analysis, so your lights are placed and configured with mathematical precision.

What are the Lighting Standards for Volleyball Courts?

The standard volleyball court is 30 by 60 feet, whether it is for indoor or outdoor play. Since volleyball games are played on a standardized court, volleyball lighting systems are standardized as well.

As with most sports, lighting requirements are more demanding for higher levels of play. The players and the ball move faster as the competition moves up from recreational to professional level. Here are the guidelines that lighting experts observe during volleyball court lighting installation:

  • Recreational play or training courts – Recreational courts are marked by a slower pace of play and require less demanding lighting as a result. In general, aim for 20-30 footcandles and a luminance ratio of at least .5. The luminance ratio refers to the ratio between the brightest part of the court and the darkest part of the court. The better the luminance ratio, the more even the lighting.
  • High school/club level play – High school and club play moves faster, so 50-70 footcandles are recommended, along with a luminance ratio of at least .6.
  • Collegiate/professional level play – At the highest level of play, at least 100 footcandles (but closer to 200 footcandles) are recommended. A luminance ratio of .7 is also needed. At this level, high-CRI fixtures are also recommended, as these provide better color rendering and, by extension, better visibility at high speeds.

The biggest difference to note is the number of footcandles (a measure of lighting intensity) required at each level. From beginner to professional play, even illumination with minimal glare and shadows are important. As the competition becomes more intense, so must the quality of light. As such, it is important to pick a lighting company that has experience installing volleyball lighting systems at all levels.

What Does an Effective Volleyball Court Lighting System Include?

Volleyball lighting systems are available in a couple of designs, but the most common systems include the following:

  • A set of steel or wooden light poles. For volleyball courts, lighting poles should be at least 20 feet high to provide sufficient illumination while minimizing glare. We recommend lighting poles be installed at least 10 feet from the edge of the court for maximum safety. Fortunately, LED lighting is perfect for this purpose.
  • A set of mounting arms for the LED lighting fixtures. These arms allow the installation team to angle the lights for maximum coverage and minimal glare.
  • A set of LED lamps. LED lights are available in several distribution patterns, including lamps that throw illumination forward and away from the pole. This is ideal for sports lighting applications, as it ensures the pole can remain safely out of play while still providing adequate light.

Volleyball lighting solutions either include a four-pole or two-pole layout. The right choice will depend on several factors, including intended use, the available space and the budget.

Expert Photometric Analysis Will Ensure the Best Results for Lighting a Volleyball Court

Prior to installation, lighting experts may use photometric analysis to model potential LED lighting solutions. Photometric analysis allows the design team to try out a variety of LEDs, using technical information from the manufacturer to create accurate models – down to the footcandle levels. There is no longer any need for lighting installers to just go by intuition as photometric analysis ensures uniform light distribution.

Four Reasons Why LED Lighting is Recommended for Volleyball Courts

LED lighting is the lighting option of choice for most sports lighting applications. This includes volleyball courts, where LEDs offer the following:

  • Unsurpassed energy efficiency – No other form of lighting is as energy efficient as LED lighting. LEDs are efficient at the source and at the system level, as their directional nature means LEDs can be aimed with greater precision. More light reaches the intended target, which means less power is needed to achieve sufficient levels of illumination.
  • Excellent lighting performance – LED lighting has come a long way since the first commercial fixtures were introduced decades ago. Now, LED systems are characterized by clear, even illumination that provides superior luminance ratios. LEDs are also available in high-CRI models that support better color rendering and better visibility during high-speed play.
  • An extended lifespan – LED fixtures are the longest-lived on the market, and other lighting options cannot compare. For example, metal halide lamps may burn out before the 10,000-hour mark, and 20,000 hours of lighting are about the max that fluorescent bulbs can give. It is also important to note that both formerly mentioned lighting technologies are quickly being discontinued. However, you can expect at least 50,000 hours of high-quality illumination from LED lighting. With its combination of excellent energy efficiency and extended longevity, LED technology offers extremely low operational costs.
  • Advanced controllability – LED lighting is also compatible with every type of lighting control on the market, including timers, photocells, and occupancy sensors. If paired with your lighting system, these advanced controls will improve your volleyball lighting system’s efficiency even further.

LED Lighting Designed by the Experts is Ideal for Volleyball Courts

Volleyball moves fast – the ball itself and the players on the court. With so much activity, high quality lighting is essential for safe, high-level play. LED solutions can provide that high quality lighting, as LEDs produce even, brilliant illumination in a package that requires minimal maintenance. If your LED lighting system is designed by an industry expert using photometric analysis, your volleyball lighting system will provide optimal cost efficiency and performance.

Choosing the Right Outdoor LED Lights for Commercial Spaces

Choosing the Right Outdoor LED Lights for Commercial Spaces

LED lighting has emerged as the leader in outdoor lighting applications, prized for its energy efficiency, reliability, longevity, controllability, and versatility. There are many benefits linked to LED lighting systems, and you may find them used with the following fixtures:

  • Parking lot lighting
  • Street lighting
  • Wall pack fixtures
  • Canopy fixtures
  • Landscape lighting
  • Security lighting applications

If your property relies on any of the above types of fixtures, LEDs can serve your lighting needs. Read on to learn some of the most popular outdoor LED lighting options for commercial spaces.

What LED Lighting Fixtures are Used in Commercial Outdoor Lighting Applications?

There are numerous LED lighting options available for exterior applications. Some of the most common include:

  • Parking lot lighting – LED lighting is useful for illuminating parking lots and parking garages. LED technology has been formatted for a range of parking lot fixtures and can output illumination in one of several light distribution patterns. For example, type III distribution patterns are ideal for parking lots because they throw illumination forward and allow installers to set the lighting pole away from the pavement. Parking lot lighting must cover large areas and lighting pollution is a concern, so it’s important to work with a lighting expert to model your project’s photometrics.
  • Street lighting – LED bulbs can also power street lighting applications and are a fit for the same reasons that LEDs are effective in parking lot applications. They can be placed well away from the road while still providing sufficient illumination, they provide excellent illumination quality at night, and they are formatted for a range of street lighting fixtures. This includes cobra head, COB and SMD fixture designs.
  • Wall pack fixturesWall pack LEDs are mounted to a building’s facade or other exterior vertical surface. You may also find them around loading areas, walkways, and other high traffic exterior spaces. Wall pack LEDs are compact and available in several varieties, including vaporproof and shielded fixtures for minimal light trespass.
  • Canopy fixtures – LED canopies are designed for placement under an overhanging structure, such as a gas station overhang or parking garage. LED canopies throw an impressive amount of light in a relatively confined area, so they are ideal for brightly illuminating smaller areas.
  • Landscape lighting – LEDs are also incorporated into a range of landscape lighting fixtures, including flood lights, bullet lights, bollards, wall washers, pendant lights, in-ground lights, and a variety of other fixture designs. LED landscape lights are IP rated against dust and water intrusion, making them a reliable fit for outdoor applications.
  • Security lighting – LED lighting solutions are also appropriate for security lighting applications because they can be paired with advanced controls like occupancy sensors. With LEDs, your security lights can turn on as soon as someone is detected nearby. Since LEDs require zero warm up time and provide excellent night-time lighting quality, they can be used to quickly capture high quality images and video.

While LEDs used in outdoor applications are IP rated for protection against dust and moisture, they are also available in corrosion-resistant fixture designs that are ideal for settings like oceanfront properties, where airborne salt can cause damage to fixtures. With their superior durability, LED lights can replace legacy technologies like metal halides and high-pressure sodium fixtures (both of which are being phased out).

Four Benefits of LED Lighting in Outdoor Settings

Regardless of the LED lighting fixtures you choose, they will provide a wealth of benefits to your property, including:

  • Improved energy efficiency and savings – Compared to metal halide lighting, LED light bulbs are far more energy efficient because they produce less waste while illuminating an outdoor environment. Metal halides, which remain a commonplace option for exterior settings, are omnidirectional lights that throw illumination in every direction. As a result, metal halides waste much of their output. Bulky reflectors can be used to offset this effect somewhat, but it’s an expensive and impractical solution in every setting.LED lighting systems have a noted energy efficiency advantage because they can be aimed with far greater precision. They are also more energy efficient at the source (bulb) compared to metal halides and others, but it’s at the system level that LED lighting really shines. It’s not uncommon for commercial properties to reduce their lighting expenditures by thousands of dollars every year when accounting for the number of bulbs featured in an outdoor lighting system.
  • Extended longevity and reduced maintenance costs – The typical LED light will provide between 50,000 and 100,000 hours of high quality, reliable illumination. No other lighting technology comes close, as the typical metal halide usually fails before 10,000 hours, and fluorescents by the 20,000-hour mark. Since LED lights are replaced less often, property owners can save money on bulb replacements and maintenance personnel.Between better energy efficiency and improved lifespan, businesses can realize a rapid return on their LED lighting investment.
  • Excellent night-time performance and lighting quality – Outdoor LED fixtures feature high-output bulbs that emit even illumination without hotspots or other flaws. High-CRI LEDs render colors extremely well at night, allowing people to see better and further. When properly shielded, LEDs also emit minimal glare and do not flicker, so they are easy on the eyes at night.
  • Expanded versatility through advanced lighting controls – LED lighting is also highly controllable and can be paired with timers, photocells, dimmers, and occupancy controls – giving commercial property owners full control over where and when their LEDs are powered on. These controls can be used in conjunction with each other for optimal energy efficiency as well. For example, by combining occupancy controls and dimmers, LED lights can output at full intensity when a nearby person or vehicle is detected and dim when the area is clear. Business owners can save money by trimming down on lighting waste and improving safety by ensuring maximum visibility when it is needed most.

Consult with a Lighting Expert to Choose the Right Outdoor LED Lights for Your Commercial Space

Whether your property needs new parking lot lighting, street lighting, landscape lighting, security lighting or general commercial lighting, LEDs can provide an unbeatable mix of cost efficiency and performance. To get the most from your new or retrofit LED lighting system, consider scheduling an appointment with an experienced lighting company. The lighting professionals can perform a detailed site survey, model your property using photometric technology and ensure the right fixtures are sourced for your commercial lighting project.

Warehouse LED Lighting Guide

Warehouse LED Lighting Guide

LED lighting is a top choice for warehouses, as it can be installed as part of new construction or retrofitted into an existing lighting system. In both instances, warehouse LED lighting offers the following benefits:

  • Superior energy efficiency
  • Extended lifespan and reliability
  • A low maintenance, low overhead design
  • Excellent controllability
  • Outstanding performance and lighting quality
  • Directionality (the ability to be aimed)

LED lighting makes a strong case for itself. The question is – what LED lighting products are appropriate for a warehouse? In this guide, we will answer that question and provide information on what facility managers should consider before implementing LEDs in their warehouses.

Which LED Lighting Fixtures are Used in Warehouses?

LED lighting technology has been adapted for a full range of warehouse fixtures, including the following:

  • Linear bay lighting – Linear bay fixtures output illumination in a rectangular pattern that is ideal for lighting aisles. They can be mounted directly to the warehouse’s ceiling or suspended from it by chains, so they can be installed at varying heights. Linear bays are also effective at reducing glare and blend in with their surroundings better, if aesthetics are a concern.
  • UFO bay lighting – UFO bay lights are circular in shape and therefore emit illumination in a circular pattern. In open warehouse designs, this distribution pattern may be preferred and provide better coverage. UFOs are also more compact and easier to install than linear bays, but glare control can be a concern. Like with most bay fixtures, UFO bays can be mounted directly to the ceiling or suspended from it at nearly any height.
  • Low bay lighting – Low bay lights are designed for warehouses with lower ceilings, typically between 12 and 20 feet high. Low bay lights can also be used to great effect in areas for more detailed tasks. As such, low bay lights are often used in workshops, industrial facilities, and manufacturing centers, in addition to warehouses.
  • Task lighting – Task lights are smaller, lower-output fixtures that are designed for spaces where detailed work is carried out. In warehouses, LED task lights may be installed near the picking, processing, or inspection areas.

In addition to the above, you may see other types of LED fixtures acting in smaller roles. For example, LED wall pack lights are a common choice for lighting the building’s interior and exterior perimeter and are a good option for security lighting applications.

Further, some LED fixtures are built to be vapor-tight, which means they are shielded against dust and moisture. These lights come with an IP rating that communicates their resistance to solid and moisture intrusion. In warehouses where dust, moisture or corrosive materials are present, vapor-tight lights are one way to mitigate risk.

Four Things to Consider When Selecting LED Lights

For most warehouses, a combination of bay and task lights will provide sufficient illumination and visibility. The challenge is selecting the right fixture models and positioning them inside the facility. At this point, it is highly recommended that facility owners consult with a lighting expert before moving forward. Lighting professionals can identify the right LEDs and fixtures for your facility, using the following factors to assess your space:

1) The size of the warehouse

The square footage of the warehouse is the primary factor in determining which fixtures to install and where to install them. The facility’s size dictates how many lights will be needed and how they will be spaced out. It is important to get the spacing of your lights right because if they are too close, there will be areas of intense brightness and glare that can cause safety issues. On the other hand, if the lighting is placed too far apart, they will not provide even, adequate illumination across your warehouse floor.

2) The height of the warehouse’s ceiling

Ceiling height is the most important consideration when selecting between high and low bay lighting. However, that is only one reason why ceiling height is important. It also factors into fixture selection, as higher ceilings require higher-output fixtures. There are many high-output LED warehouse lights to choose from, including LEDs that can throw 50,000 lumens or more. When assessing an LED light’s output, it is the lumen count that is most important. Lumens are a unit of luminous flux and are used instead of wattage when describing an LED light’s brightness. In general, an LED uses about 70 percent less power than a metal halide bulb with equivalent output. For example, a 100-watt LED outputs an amount of illumination comparable to a 320-watt metal halide (which is being discontinued).

3) The warehouse’s layout

The layout of the warehouse, including its shape and the way it is organized, also has a major impact on your lighting system. For instance, if your warehouse is arranged in aisles, linear bay lights will be more effective. As most warehouses have a separate picking or staging area, these spaces may require a different type of fixture (or at least a different type of light distribution) for more detailed tasks.

4) Any efficiency or security needs

Many facility owners are switching to LED lighting for efficiency reasons and aim to hit a specified energy savings target. Other warehouse owners need to improve safety, security, or other important metrics. The ultimate lighting goals will influence the right LED fixture selection and placement.

For instance, if your new LED lighting system is intended to future-proof your facility from an efficiency standpoint, it will be important to optimize every lumen the system outputs. That requires precise photometric design. If improved security and safety are the goals, attaching advanced lighting controls (such as occupancy controls) will ensure the lights provide maximum brightness and visibility when needed and are switched off when they are not needed. This can minimize the warehouse’s energy consumption further and reduce the operating cost of the LED lighting.

A Lighting Expert Can Model and Install the Ideal Warehouse LED Lighting System

LED lighting offers the reliability, performance, efficiency, and controllability that facility managers look for in a lighting system. The challenge is implementing a new or retrofit LED system, but an experienced lighting company can help with that.

Lighting experts can provide a detailed photometric analysis for a warehouse lighting project, which is essentially like a glimpse into what the property will look like once the system is installed. Expert lighting professionals use this analysis as a guide in selecting, positioning and configuring LED lights, ensuring clients get maximum illumination coverage and efficiency.

If it is time for your warehouse to make the switch to LED technology, schedule an appointment with a trusted lighting expert to survey your property and begin designing the ideal warehouse LED lighting solution.

How LED Lighting Saves Business Owners Money

How LED Lighting Saves Business Owners Money

LED lighting can save business owners money in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • LEDs reduce energy consumption and energy bills
  • LED lights can be precision-controlled to reduce costs further
  • LED bulbs last longer, so fewer replacements are needed
  • Tax incentives can reduce the cost of installing LED lighting

Together, these benefits can provide a quick return on investment (ROI), especially for business owners who operate large commercial properties.

How Much Money Can LED Lighting Save Business Owners?

To get a detailed idea of a company’s savings, a consultation with a lighting expert is a great first step. During consultation, the lighting team will perform a site survey, noting the age and condition of the existing lighting equipment. They will also determine the number and types of fixtures in the facilities. With this information, the lighting expert can provide a detailed estimate of the LED lighting system and what the company stands to save by making the switch.

There are some general guidelines that can be used to roughly calculate the potential savings for the business.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions states that companies spend about 20 percent of their total energy bill on lighting. For some businesses, that number may be as high as 40 percent.

Compared to legacy lighting systems, LED can cut energy usage by up to 80 percent. So, if a business spends 20 percent of its energy on lighting, switching to LED lighting could immediately trim 15 percent or more from its utility bills. Depending on the size and nature of the facility, that may mean thousands of dollars every year in energy savings.

But that is only one part of the picture because LED lighting provides a couple of other notable cost benefits. Specifically, here is how LED lighting can save a business money:

1) LED Lighting is More Energy Efficient and Costs Less to Operate

As previously mentioned, LED lighting can greatly reduce energy usage and utility bills. LED lighting systems achieve this in two ways – at the source level and at the system level:

  • Source level – At the source, LED lamps have a modest, but significant energy efficiency advantage over metal halide and fluorescent fixtures (both of which are being discontinued). On average, LED’s luminous efficiency (the lumens it puts out per watt) is around 100, and current generation LEDs are already pushing past that. Fluorescent and metal halide lights range between 50 and 100 lumens per watt, but both decline rapidly and do not retain their out-of-the-box luminous efficiency for long.
  • System level – LED’s energy efficiency advantage is mostly captured at the system level. LED fixtures emit light directionally, which makes it easier to position the bulb for maximum effectiveness. It can be aimed, which means more light reaches the intended target. If the lighting installer can do photometric analysis, they can use LED’s directionality to minimize the amount of power needed for the system. Other lighting technologies are omnidirectional, which means they emit illumination in every direction. This leads to a significant amount of waste and reduced system performance. The only way to compensate for this is to attach bulky reflectors onto the fixture, for an additional cost.

2) LED Lighting Systems Can Be Controlled to Boost Energy Efficiency

LED lighting is a modern technology adapted for modern lighting controls, which can unlock another level of energy efficiency. For example, pair dimmers and occupancy controls together with the LEDs and they can dim up and down depending on whether someone is nearby. In areas where people are not active, the system saves additional power by reducing or shutting down fixtures that are not needed.

LED’s controllability makes it an ideal security lighting option as well. When occupancy controls detect someone, they can immediately power up the LED lights and ensure there is enough illumination for surveillance. In this way, LED lighting may save money by deterring crime.

3) LED Fixtures Require Near Zero Maintenance and Have an Unmatched Lifespan

Once installed, LED fixtures require near-zero maintenance to operate reliably, making LEDs an install-and-forget lighting option.

More importantly, LED lamps have a much longer lifespan compared to other lighting technologies. On average, an LED bulb will provide 50,000 hours of high-quality illumination before reaching the L70 threshold (the point where the light has lost 30 percent of its lumen output due to age). Some LED fixtures will last longer – up to 100,000 hours in some cases.

Fluorescent lamps hit their L70 mark around 20,000 hours, sometimes less. Metal halides wear out even faster, requiring replacement every 10,000 hours or so.

LEDs can operate continuously for several years before they need to be switched out. The business will save money by spending less on replacement lamps and by reducing maintenance-related overhead.

4) The Installation Cost of LED Lighting Can Be Offset with Tax Incentives

If the property qualifies, the cost of the commercial lighting project may be reduced significantly by tax incentives. The most impactful provision is Section 179D, which provides an immediate tax deduction for the cost of a new or retrofit energy efficient lighting system. The deduction may be as high as $5.36 per square foot, depending on how much power the new lighting will save (the full deduction requires a 50 percent reduction in energy consumption).

It is highly recommended that business owners consult with a trusted lighting company to determine eligibility for tax incentives and to calculate potential savings.

LED Lighting Saves Business Owners Money and Improves Lighting Performance

Through better energy efficiency, reduced maintenance, enhanced controllability and tax incentives, LED lighting can save business owners a good deal of money. Depending on the size and nature of the facilities, it could mean thousands of dollars to the company’s bottom line. Further, LED technology is the future of lighting and will ensure the system remains viable for decades.

If a business is ready to cut costs, speaking with a reputable lighting expert will reveal more on how LED lighting can save business owners money.

How to Avoid Light Pollution with LED Lighting

How to Avoid Light Pollution with LED Lighting

LED lighting can help property owners avoid producing light pollution, as LED offers the following advantages:

  • It can be aimed
  • It can be shielded
  • It can be controlled with precision
  • It is available in warm color temperatures
  • It can be easily diagrammed using photometric technology

Together, these benefits can be leveraged by lighting experts to minimize light pollution – including uplight that causes “sky glow” and unwelcome trespass onto neighboring properties.

Read on to learn more about each advantage of LED lighting in detail, and how LEDs can be utilized to avoid light pollution.

1) LED Lights Produce Directional Illumination That Can Be Shaped

Until LEDs came along, all forms of exterior lighting were omnidirectional in nature. This includes metal halides and other high intensity discharge technologies. Omnidirectional lights emit illumination in every direction – an obvious problem if you are attempting to avoid light pollution.

On the other hand, LED lights are directional by virtue of their engineering. They tend to emit most of their light in a single direction, and lighting experts can use this directionality to their advantage. Specifically, LED’s directional nature means maximum illumination reaches the target and minimal illumination is lost as pollution.

LED Lighting Fixtures Can Be Shielded to Reduce Uplight

Because of their directionality, LED bulbs can be shielded with minimal impact on the light’s performance and quality.

Light fixture shielding is one of DarkSky International’s primary recommendations for reducing light pollution. When it is attached to a fixture, the shield blocks all light above the horizon, preventing any upward-aiming rays from reaching the sky. Shielding can also reduce glare and therefore prevent light from trespassing onto neighboring properties.

Fixture shielding can be used with a variety of lighting applications, including parking lot lighting, streetlights, and venue lighting.

3) LED Lighting Controls Ensure the Fixtures Are Only On When Needed

Another way to minimize light pollution is to attach lighting controls to those LED fixtures. There are many types of lighting controls, including:

  • Dimmers
  • Timers
  • Photocells
  • Occupancy controls, such as IR or ultrasonic motion detectors

While each of these controls do their job a bit differently, they all serve the same general purpose – ensure each LED light is only on (or at full intensity) when necessary. For example, with dimmers and occupancy controls, each LED source will only light up to full intensity when someone is nearby.

Many businesses are already using lighting control products to improve energy efficiency in their indoor facilities, but the same approach is also effective for reducing lighting pollution. At night, when there are fewer people walking around, full-intensity lighting may be excessive and emit easily avoided light pollution. Advanced controls can mitigate this issue.

4) Warm LEDs Minimize Blue Light and Light Pollution

From a light pollution perspective, blue light causes more problems than warmer color temperatures. Blue light scatters further, causes more glare, and has a bigger impact on human and wildlife health. For these reasons, DarkSky International recommends cities and communities invest in warm lighting.

LED lighting is now available in a full range of color temperatures, including warm tones that are ideal for cutting light pollution. Warm LEDs are just as reliable as other LED lights and can therefore replace neutral and cool LEDs without a drop in performance.

5) LED Lighting Systems Can Be Precisely Designed

Prior to every LED lighting project, lighting experts use photometric analysis to diagram the lighting system to precision. During this analysis, the designer will create a 3D model of the project environment and place a variety of LED lighting sources to test different fixture layouts.

Every time the designer makes a change – moves a fixture here, switches out one LED bulb for another – the software instantly recalculates how much light is reaching every part of the property. These calculations are based on the manufacturer’s performance data, so it is mathematically precise.

In this way, lighting experts do not have to guess at system performance. They know exactly how much light the system is putting out, where it is aiming that illumination, and whether it is trespassing onto neighboring properties. With photometric analysis, designers can avoid light pollution by carefully shaping the system’s output.

Why It Is Important to Avoid Light Pollution

Excessive night-time illumination is linked to adverse health effects in humans and animals. It can suppress the body’s ability to produce melatonin, which influences our circadian rhythms and disrupts sleep.

Light pollution also disrupts animal migration patterns and can pull wildlife into brightly lit areas. This can have significant negative effects on the local ecosystem.

In response to these emerging health and environmental concerns, a growing number of communities are enacting dark sky ordinances to reduce light pollution. Several of these communities are in Texas, and enthusiasm for dark sky ordinances is spreading across the nation.

On top of dark sky ordinances, many cities already have light pollution ordinances in place to prevent illumination from creeping onto neighboring properties. The use of photometric analysis, cutoff fixtures and lighting controls can help properties remain in compliance with these standards.

An LED Lighting Expert Can Help Your Business Preserve the Night Sky

There are several ways lighting designers can avoid light pollution with LED lighting. They can take advantage of its directionality, shield the fixtures, opt for warm LEDs, pair the system with advanced controls, or use 3D modeling technology to position lights with precision.

If your project must adhere to ordinances that limit light pollution, partnering with a lighting expert will ensure you get an LED lighting system that is not only efficient and reliable, but dark sky compliant as well.

Types of Outdoor LED Lighting

Types of Outdoor LED Lighting

Outdoor LED Lighting For Any Application

Outdoor LED lighting is quickly replacing legacy lighting technologies in a variety of exterior applications.

The reason for this is that modern LED lighting products lead the way in energy efficiency, but they offer much more, including:

  • Extended reliability and durability
  • Longevity
  • High quality performance
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Advanced controllability

These benefits are especially valuable in outdoor applications, where lamp replacement and maintenance can be a challenge.

Another advantage of LED lighting technology is versatility. Current generation LED lamps can be integrated into any type of landscape or exterior fixture. That means property owners can transition to LED lighting without overhauling their existing system.

Ten Types of Outdoor LED Lighting

The following outdoor LED fixtures can provide an ideal lighting solution for any outdoor application:

Bullet lights

Bullet lights are used in landscape lighting applications where directionality is necessary. They are ideal for exterior signage, facades and interesting landscape features, as they can be aimed with precision. Bullet fixtures are weather-resistant and dust-sealed for maximum durability and reliability.


Bollard lights are installed inside bollard posts (which stand 3-8 feet high) and are often found in parking lots, parks, playgrounds and walkways. LED bollards are designed for an aesthetic fit in any setting, including contemporary, modern and geometric options.

Flood and spot lights

LED flood lights are also used in landscape applications, where they are most effective for illuminating facades, hedges and large trees. LED flood lights are a top choice for security applications and crime deterrence.

Pendant (hanging) lights

Pendant lights are suspended from ceilings and are therefore a good option for porches, balconies and aesthetically-focused settings. They’re also available in a large variety of styles to ensure a perfect fit.

In-ground lights

In-ground fixtures emphasize discreteness, as these fixtures are invisible once installed. They are typically used in uplighting applications, where they are effective for illuminating trees, greenery scenes and exterior facades. Like all exterior LED lights, in-ground LEDs are sealed against water and weather for maximum durability.

Path lights

Path lights sit low to the ground – most are less than two feet tall – and are used to illuminate paths, walkways and gardens. Path lights are often used in both commercial and residential applications, as they improve curb appeal and safety simultaneously. Like with bollards, there are many path fixture styles to choose from to ensure an ideal aesthetic fit.

Rope lights

Rope lights are a durable form of indirect outdoor lighting, so the fixtures remain hidden during operation. They are typically found on residential properties where they are installed around patios, along walkways and in architectural coves. Rope lights are available in several colors and are protected with a PVC housing that keeps the bulbs safe from water.

Step and deck lights

LED step and deck lights are mounted to and integrated into exterior steps and decks. They can be affixed to wood, brick or metal and blend in, with a variety of faceplates and color temperatures to choose from. They also reduce tripping hazards and improve pedestrian safety, so they are also useful in commercial applications.

Underwater lights

LED underwater lights can be installed in ponds and fountains, so they work equally well in residential gardens and commercial water features. Underwater LED fixtures are cast from brass, with high impact acrylic optics and a watertight bushing for excellent protection from water intrusion.

BBQ lights

BBQ lights are gooseneck fixtures that hang over a grilling area and provide precise, high quality LED illumination during night-time barbecuing. BBQ lights are built with stainless steel, so they’re resistant to weather and corrosion, and they can be wired directly into a transformer or breaker box.

Four Advantages of Outdoor LED Lighting

LED lights are well-suited for outdoor applications for the following reasons:

  1. LEDs last much longer than other types of lighting – LED lighting has a longer lifespan than any other lighting technology on the market. LEDs are improving in this area all the time, but the typical diode fixture already provides at least 50,000 hours of reliable illumination before replacement is recommended. Lighting manufacturers use the concept of lumen maintenance to determine when a lamp has reached the end of its useful life. Specifically, when a light has lost about 30 percent of its overall lumen output, it is no longer considered viable. As mentioned, LED lighting reaches this point around the 50,000 hour mark. Fluorescent fixtures reach their end of life around 20,000 hours, and metal halides may not make it to 10,000 hours. It is also important to note that both of these lighting technologies are being discontinued. This extended lifespan factors into LED’s overall cost efficiency, but it’s also a major convenience advantage for outdoor applications. The longer the light lasts, the less often it will need to be replaced.
  2. Outdoor LED lights provide high-output, high quality illumination – The initial concerns with LED lighting were performance related, but these concerns have disappeared with improving diode engineering. Today’s LED lights are capable of extremely high lumen counts, excellent color rendering and reliable light metering within tight tolerances. These are major advantages for security-focused and safety-focused lighting applications, such as parking lot, street and walkway settings. LED’s excellent lighting quality is also important for sports fields, courts and arenas, where the light needs to be sharp enough to track high-speed objects.
  3. Outdoor LED lights can be paired with advanced lighting controls – LED lighting systems are compatible with all widely used lighting controls, including photocells, timers, occupancy controls and dimmers. This controllability advantage can enhance energy efficiency or safety further, as your LED lights will only be on when they are needed. This has obvious security applications, but it can also improve an outdoor space’s utility, as the system won’t need to be powered around the clock to ensure adequate lighting levels. For example, LED lighting used for walkways can be configured to brighten up when people are nearby, and dim down when no one is present. The same approach can be used with all types of landscape lighting, as well as street lighting, canopy fixtures and parking garages.
  4. Outdoor LED lighting consumes less energy – LED lighting is the most energy efficient option on the market – an advantage that’s been apparent since the technology’s introduction. This advantage has widened with time, as improved optics and photometric analysis can fully leverage LED’s directional nature. Now, LED lighting systems can be precisely designed to maximize the amount of usable illumination with as few fixtures as possible. The result is greatly reduced energy consumption and lower maintenance/replacement costs – a one-two cost-saving punch that accelerates the system’s return on investment (ROI).

Trust Outdoor LED Lighting Professionals for Design and Installation

LEDs provide the long-lasting durability, reliability, performance and efficiency that is expected from outdoor lighting systems. However, there are still questions to answer before installing your LED lights.

Do you have the right fixtures selected for your project? Do you know where they will be placed? Do you know how to safely install your lighting fixtures?

Lighting professionals are experts in outdoor LED lighting, from planning to installation. If your exterior lighting project is overseen by an expert lighting team, they will be able to:

  • Optimize your lighting system’s energy efficiency
  • Select and source the best fixtures for your project
  • Select and source the best lighting controls and components for your project
  • Identify optimal fixture placement to enhance efficiency and performance
  • Install all fixtures, lamps and lighting system components
  • Configure the system to meet your lighting needs
  • Provide ongoing maintenance and lamp replacement

In short, by working with a reputable lighting expert, you will accelerate the ROI on your outdoor LED lighting and ensure a clean, professional look.

LED Lighting for Commercial Use

LED Lighting for Commercial Use

LED lighting is now the first choice for commercial buildings and spaces. Why? There are many reasons, but versatility may be the most important. LEDs have been developed for an array of commercial lighting fixtures, so no matter your application, there is an LED fixture that will meet the need. If you are installing a new lighting system or overhauling an existing one, read on for some of the best LED lighting options for commercial use.

LED Lights Used in Office Buildings

Office buildings are typically built with drop ceilings that were designed to accommodate fluorescent fixtures. However, now that fluorescent technology is slowly being discontinued, LED fixtures have been adapted to replace them. Some examples of office LED lighting include:

  • LED tubes – LED tubes are designed to fit into existing tube fixtures and some also use existing ballasts, making these a plug-and-play option for facility owners. LED tubes are available in standard diameters, including T12s, T8s and T4s. Fluorescent T12s have already been banned and T8s are being phased out, but LEDs allow building owners to continue using their existing tube fixtures.
  • LED troffers – LED troffers are made with a concave design that insets the lights higher up into the ceiling. Like with fluorescent tube fixtures, LED troffers are meant to be a direct replacement to fluorescent troffers – with the LED lamps plugging into the troffer. With their slightly recessed design, they emit illumination in a tighter, concentrated spread that is appropriate for lighting up individual workstations.
  • LED panels – LED panels offer edge-to-edge illumination for drop ceilings, but this light is passed through a diffusion screen to prevent glare. The result is a softer, but wider spread of illumination ideal for general lighting applications.

LED Lights Used in Large Commercial Settings

LED lighting is also a mainstay in expansive commercial buildings, including department stores, shopping malls and warehouses. The following light fixtures are popular options for these settings:

  • High bay lights – High bay lights are intended for ceilings 20-45 feet high and are designed for maximum output. Some high bay fixtures throw 50,000 lumens or more, as higher outputs are necessary to ensure adequate ground-level brightness. Photometric analysis will verify that a particular set (and arrangement) of high bays will provide enough illumination. LED bays are available in linear or UFO (circular) designs. Linear bays are better suited for lighting store or warehouse aisles, while UFOs are better at creating lighting “zones.”
  • Low bay lights – Low bays are identical to high bay fixtures in shape and design but are intended for ceilings 12-20 feet high. Because they are installed at a lower height, they do not need to output as much illumination (fewer lumens are lost from ceiling to ground). They are also rated at lower wattages than high bays, so they require less power to run.

Bay fixtures can either be mounted directly to the ceiling or suspended from it.

LED Lighting Used in Small Commercial Settings

In retail shops and restaurants, more subtle lighting is required to achieve a nice balance between visibility and aesthetics. Here are some LED fixtures that can provide this balance for boutique shop and restaurant owners:

  • LED track lighting – LED track fixtures are mounted to a track that is suspended from the ceiling. Each track can hold multiple bulbs and each one can be positioned independently. This allows shop and restaurant owners to be versatile with their lighting, as LED track fixtures can be aimed at separate targets.
  • LED strip and cove lighting – LED strips and cove lights are indirect fixtures, primarily used for accent or decorative applications. They are available in a range of color temperatures, and since they are indirect, the fixtures are concealed from view. Their design means strip and cove LEDs are ideal for drawing attention to high-value products and establishing a cozy, intimate ambiance – without the fixture being a distraction.
  • LED pendant lighting – Pendant LEDs are suspended from the ceiling and serve a decorative or accent role. Pendants can be hung at different heights and are available in an endless variety of designs and styles. As such, they can fit in an array of retail settings. Pendant lights are typically seen suspended over product displays, checkout stations, or restaurant dining tables.
  • Recessed LED lights – Recessed LED lights are installed inside the ceiling and provide a concentrated spot of illumination. Recessed fixtures have a sophisticated aesthetic that people respond to well, which makes them effective in boutique retail shops. They work best when used to illuminate product displays or walking paths.

LED Lights Used in Sports Arenas and Concert Venues

Sports arenas and concert venues require space-filling lights to maintain adequate visibility levels. Given their fast-paced nature, arenas for baseball, football and tennis need extremely high-output fixtures for safe play.

  • LED sportslighters and flood lights – Sportslighters and flood lights are the highest-output LED fixtures on the market, capable of throwing 100,000 lumens (or more). These fixtures are designed for heavy-duty, outdoor use and are therefore shielded from dust and moisture. LED sportslighters and flood lights also require zero warmup to come up to maximum brightness and can be placed well out of the field of play while remaining effective. Further, because LED lights emit even, high quality illumination, they offer the best min/max ratios on the market – a comparison between the dimmest and brightest area. Extremely tight minimum/maximum ratios are required for collegiate and professional-level play.LED lights are also available in several illumination distribution patterns, including forward-throw patterns that are ideal for mounting to out-of-play lighting poles.

LED Lights Used in Commercial Parking Lots and Garages

LEDs are also taking over parking lot and parking garage lighting applications. Their energy efficiency and high-quality output makes LED lights a superior choice for outdoor, night-time applications. Some LED fixtures you may see in these settings include:

  • LED parking lot lights – LED bullhorns, cobra head and area lights are all frontline options for parking lot and garage applications. Chip-on-board (CoB) LEDs are also common, as they are rated for continuous use. LED’s directionality is a major advantage for nighttime use, as LED fixtures can be shielded to eliminate uplighting (and comply with dark sky regulations) while ensuring adequate light reaches the ground. Since LEDs are available in several distribution patterns, lighting designers can ensure optimal coverage while using fewer lighting poles.
  • LED wall packs – Wall pack LEDs are mounted to the side of buildings or parking garage walls. While they are not typically used as the primary source of lighting, wall packs can provide additional illumination on walkways near parking areas and can also work in security applications, near building entrances, and around loading areas.

Four Advantages of LED Lighting in Commercial Settings

LED lighting products offer several benefits over older commercial lighting technologies. These advantages are driving the shift to LEDs, and they include:

  • Superior energy efficiency – LEDs are the most energy-efficient lights on the market, surpassing metal halides, fluorescents, and other commercial lighting technologies. At the source (lamp) level, metal halides and fluorescents are only a little less efficient than LEDs. However, LEDs have a major advantage in system efficiency, as they are directional in nature (fewer lumens are lost from source to ground) and because they hold onto their lumen output for longer.
  • Low maintenance and extended lifespan – Once installed, LED fixtures require near-zero maintenance throughout their lifespan. And LED’s lifespan is much longer than older lighting technologies. Lighting professionals use the L70 threshold to determine when a lamp has reached the end of its life. L70 is a “lumen maintenance” concept that describes when the fixture has lost 30 percent of its initial lumen output. At this point, the lamp is no longer considered viable.
    Metal halides typically reach this point within the first 10,000 hours of their lifespan. Fluorescents are only slightly better, lasting about 20,000 hours before hitting the L70 mark.
    On average, you can expect your commercial LED lights to provide between 50,000 and 100,000 hours of quality performance before they need to be replaced. This means you will need to replace a metal halide or fluorescent fixture several times during the lifespan of a single LED light.
  • Excellent lighting performance and quality – Modern LED lights produce even, high-quality illumination that’s free from hotspots and dead spots. Inside, this means less glare and a more attractive look. Outside, this means better overall visibility, better lighting consistency (min/max ratio), and better long-range and color visibility. In fact, there are now high-CRI (color rendering index) LEDs available that render colors much more accurately than other high-intensity discharge lights.
  • Extended controllability – LED lighting is the most controllable form of lighting available. LEDs are compatible with nearly all lighting controls, including timers, dimmers, photocells, and occupancy sensors. This controllability can be leveraged to improve an LED system’s efficiency and ensure that illumination is delivered exactly where it is needed, when it is needed.

LED Lighting is the New Gold Standard for Commercial Use

In just 10-20 years, LED lighting has evolved from a high-potential technology to one whose potential has been realized. Current generation LEDs are the most energy efficient, long lived and controllable lights on the market. Now they can match other high intensity discharge lights in performance and lighting quality – if not surpass them altogether.

Installing a new or retrofit lighting solution for your commercial facilities? Consult with a LED lighting expert to see what LED lighting can do for your commercial application.