Warehouse managers everywhere are paying attention to greener ways to run their warehouses for less. Since lighting accounts for 65-70% of a warehouse’s energy bill, it’s no surprise that lighting is a major factor in cutting energy cost and usage. In addition to the impact lighting has on energy, it is also a primary factor in safety. Proper lighting affects picking, temperature, and accident risk – especially when it comes to forklift drivers. Anyone looking to improve a warehouse through lighting changes has a lot to consider.
LED lighting is becoming increasingly popular because of its long life and high efficiency. LED technology is constantly and quickly changing. With changes also come a drop in price, making a switch to LED lighting a possibility for many who couldn’t previously have afforded the option. However, there are definitely right and wrong applications of LED. For example, there is high glare from this kind of lighting. One of the safety issues with driving a lift truck is not just enough light, but the right light. If a forklift driver happens to look up and into the light, it will be bright enough to dazzle him. This could cause him to lose control of the forklift. Even if only for a moment, losing control could lead to serious injury. On the other hand, LEDs don’t produce heat. In a cold storage situation, these lights may be the perfect solution for keeping cost under control.
Fluorescent lighting, while seemingly outdated, is becoming comparable to LED lighting. Fluorescents are created as more energy-efficient and long-lasting than before. Unlike LED, there is no glare with the fluorescent lights, either. However, they do produce a lot of heat. This is obviously not ideal in cold storage. It is also not the best option for spaces that are prone to heating up quickly or where employees may be at risk of overheating.
Maintenance and repairs are other factors that will impact overall cost. Changing fittings may shave a significant amount off of what a warehouse manager spends on repairs. Warehouse Logistics and News posted an article that discussed this called, “LIGHTING – Time to rethink lighting? – Appropriate lighting investments offer stunning returns.” This article states, “The most appropriate lighting investment can dramatically extend lamp life, as Sony found when switching from 400W lamps to 150W induction fittings. Lamp life was extended from 15,000 hours to 80,000 hours and lumen maintenance was still 70% after 60,000 hours. It virtually negates future maintenance.”
Another area to consider is controls. If lights are on when they don’t need to be, it is a waste of money and electricity. In cold storage, it can also impact the temperature of the room. Sensors are so sophisticated these days that they’re more than just motion detectors. They can sense whether it is day or night, and different sensors can be used to detect motion in small spaces versus large ones. For anyone who could benefit from motion detectors but doesn’t want the lights completely off when a room is unoccupied, lights can be set to dim rather than turn off.
How to modify lighting will greatly depend on the kind of space being lit, what takes place under the lights (what kind of work is being done in that space), and the current lighting and fixtures. With some research and expert advice, a change in warehouse lighting can greatly reduce energy costs and leave a smaller carbon footprint.
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