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A closer look at High Bay Lighting

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A closer look at High Bay Lighting by the Hilclare Lighting Specialists


What is high bay lighting and what is it used for?
As the name suggests, high-bay lighting is used to light up spaces with high ceilings. This usually means ceilings ranging from 6m to 30m. The high fitting location means that the lighting requires a high output in order to ensure sufficient brightness within the large space.


Which locations require high bay lighting?
High bay lights have a range of applications across a variety of industries including manufacturing, logistics, workshops, factories and assembly lines in addition to light and heavy industrial buildings. High bay lighting is also common within large gyms, sports halls, exhibition centres, conference halls, aviation hangers and large retail stores. High bay lighting creates uniformed lighting levels, allowing workers to operate both safely and efficiently.


What are the problems with old high bay lighting?

There are many disadvantages of old high bay lighting fixtures that require consideration and possibly start the thought process of replacing them. Firstly, high bay lighting is often required to be on for long durations (with some being 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), this coupled with the high wattage consumption of old technology (often 400w+), means that running costs are very high. This high wattage consumption results from the inefficient technology, which allows some of the energy being produced from the metal halide to be wasted as heat.

Another downside of old high bay lighting is that lamp degradation means that lux levels are lower than what is required, this often results in inadequately lit spaces. In addition to this, the high-pressure sodium lamps that are often used within old lighting fixtures provide poor colour rendering.

One possible issue with old high bay lighting is the lamp technology which means there is a long strike-up time, with it often taking around 15-30 minutes for a metal halide to warm up and produce the full light output. Furthermore, old technology means that it is difficult to have occupancy controls that would enable prior lighting of fixtures in consideration of these long strike up times.

High bay lighting is also difficult to maintain as the fixtures are high up on the ceiling, making it difficult to access with appropriate professional equipment which means it can be costly to replace lamps and attend to other failures. This must be considered as old high bay lighting often requires higher levels of maintenance.

The high quantity of dust that can be found in locations where high bay lighting is installed can also add to the decision process of which lights to install, as many need to be certified to ensure the lighting can withstand this.


What are the benefits of switching to LED lighting?

There are several benefits that come with switching to LED lighting. Firstly, these fixtures require much lower levels of power, with typical LED fixtures reducing power use by over 50%. As a result, this substantially lowers running costs and reduces carbon emissions. In addition, LED fixtures tend to require much lower levels of maintenance and last substantially longer than their old high-bay counterparts.

LED lighting also provides instant light that works extremely well in conjunction with control systems, which help to further reduce power consumption. LED lighting also provides more comfortably lit environments, thus improving user experience. In addition to this, the lens control feature of LED fixtures allows for more focused light intensity, helping to ensure that light is in the right place. Finally, LED lighting removes the many negatives that come with older lighting technology such as the metal halide and high-pressure sodium.

As discussed, the right high bay lighting has the potential to provide a vast range of benefits, one of which is the potential for LED to reduce carbon emissions. With the UK government seeking to reduce carbon emissions, they have begun to provide increasing levels of support for industry products, focusing on channelling change towards the purchase of LED lighting due to its superior efficiency.

There is a range of government initiatives aimed at propelling the switch to LED, for example, the Efficiency Investments Fund which enables companies to gain interest-free loans to spend on upgrading equipment, in order to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.

In addition, local governments have made several energy-efficiency grants available to businesses, such as the Business Energy Efficiency Programme – West Midlands, which gives small or medium-sized businesses grants in order for them to switch to more energy-efficient technologies and processes such as switching from old high bay lighting to new LED high bay lighting.

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