High bay lights are normally found in wide, open spaces with ceiling heights over 20 feet. These fixtures are used to light up large horizontal and vertical spaces and typically have a very high lumen output.
Because of the ever-increasing cost of electricity – as well as the impact of greenhouse gas emissions – businesses, organizations, and institutions have had to adopt environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient lighting solutions.
In places where high bay light fixtures are used – like warehouses, gymnasiums, factories, football stadiums, sports courts, industrial facilities, and big box retail stores – LED high bay light fixtures are now used (instead of traditional high bay lights) because they are more efficient. Many LED high bay lights are designed to generate diffused light which minimizes glare.
The lighting fixtures used in high bay locations normally have a high lumen output and produce between 15,000-100,000 lumens. Since high bay lighting fixtures operate for a minimum of 12 hours a day, it makes a lot of financial sense to replace traditional high bay lights with LED high bay lights. These fixtures are usually mounted directly on ceilings but can also be mounted on ceilings via hooks and chains.
High bay lighting fixtures should only be mounted on ceilings that are over 20 feet above the floor. If these fixtures are used in a low bay ceiling (a ceiling that is 12-20 feet above the floor), the place will be overwhelmed by the light. And if low bay lighting fixtures are used in a high bay ceiling, there will be poor illumination in the space as the light distribution will be inadequate.
The general guideline for using high bay lighting fixtures is when a ceiling is 20 feet above the floor. However, it is worth mentioning that high bay lighting fixtures can be mounted on ceilings that are as low as 15ft, it all depends on the location. High bay luminaires are usually mounted at lower heights (15-20 feet above the floor) to generate light distributions that range from wide to narrow, depending on the need for vertical illumination and the application itself.
LED high bay lights offer many benefits to large open spaces. Their most important benefit is that they provide the right light spread in the area. Another beneficial feature is that they are made with a focus on long-lasting performance and heavy duty construction because they are typically used in areas like warehouses, manufacturing plants, and industrial locations – which need hard-wearing lighting fixtures. They work excellently in environments with corrosive and harsh substances like oil and dust particulates.
How High Bay Lighting Has Advanced Over the Years
Before LEDs were introduced to the market, high intensity discharge lights controlled the high bay market. Lighting systems such as HPS lamps, mercury vapor lamps, and metal halides were used in all high bay applications. But because they had many shortcomings, they were quickly replaced by fluorescent lamps – which had better light output and a longer lifespan.
But as we all know, fluorescent lamps are not perfect and also have a host of downsides. For starters, they buzz and flicker and can affect the performance of those who use them. Secondly, they contain mercury, a toxic chemical, and must be disposed of properly. Thirdly, they have limited color temperatures and are not suitable for applications where color discrimination is important.
These are only 3 of their downsides, there are many more.
This is why LED high bay lights were quickly embraced from the moment they were introduced. And over time, they have replaced numerous HID and fluorescent high bay lights. LED lights offer a range of benefits that are not provided by older lighting systems – such as high quality light, reduced maintenance, low energy consumption, and much more.
Back in 2016, the Department of Energy conducted a research study and reported that 874 million LED lighting products had been installed in different applications up until that time. It also reported that the market penetration of LED had increased to 12.6%. The department estimates that by the year 2030, LED technology will have achieved a market penetration of 84%.
These days, the two biggest factors in construction projects are energy codes and energy-saving opportunities. As contractors build, they must ensure that they follow the energy codes – which are always changing. They must also take advantage of energy-saving opportunities and help their clients to save money in the long run.
If you’ve been thinking about installing LED high bay lighting fixtures in your application, here’s something to help you make the switch sooner: utility companies usually give rebates and incentives that promote LED technology, particularly for highly efficient lighting products and controls. Additionally, businesses and industrial facilities are switching to LED technology because of regulations set by the government that lower the availability of inefficient lights.
Why Are LED High Bay Lights Better Than Traditional High Bays?
1. They Consume Very Little Energy and Save You Money You Would Have Spent On Electric Bills
One thing we wrote at the beginning of this blog post is that high bay lighting fixtures usually have a very high lumen output. Why is this the case?
Because high bay applications usually have very high ceilings and the light fixtures illuminate surfaces from very high points. If you use 1000W metal halide lamps in your high bay application, you may be delighted by the fact that each produces between 60,000 and 100,000 lumens. However, don’t get too excited because these lights only have a high lumen output at the beginning.
Another important thing worth mentioning is that high intensity discharge lamps cannot work without ballasts, and ballasts draw a considerable quantity of electricity – 15% of the electricity the bulbs draw, to be exact.
So, in actual sense, each 1000W HID lamp will consume 1150 watts of electricity. If you have 100 of these lights installed in your application, they will pull 115,000 watts of electricity. We’re pretty sure that at this point you don’t want to picture how high your electric bill will be.
Now, let’s talk about LED high bay lights. Generally, LED lights do not consume a lot of watts in order to generate many lumens. And thanks to advancements in technology, new LEDs need even fewer watts to produce many lumens.
Most of the LEDs on the market have a luminous efficacy above 100 lumens per watt and higher-quality LEDs produce more than 150 lumens per watt. When gauging the performance of LEDs, the most important factor to look at is luminous efficacy, which is measured in lumens per watt (lm/W).
Luminous efficacy tells you the exact quantity of lumens a light bulb produces for every electricity watt it pulls. It is the true measure of performance.
All the LEDs sold by The Lighting Center have a very high luminous efficacy to help you save more money on your electric bills. Our 75-125 watt LEDs produce 155-165 lumens and have a 10-year warranty.
2. They Have Higher-Quality Light
There are two things that differentiate LED lights from traditional lights. For starters, they have a higher CRI (Color Rendering Index). CRI measures light and shows the ability of a light source to reveal the true colors of the objects it illuminates – compared to an ideal light source, such as sunlight.
Sunlight renders colors very well and has a CRI of 100, which is the highest. LED lights have a high color CRI, unlike traditional light sources whose CRI is less than 70. When buying LED high bay lights, pick those with a color rendering index of 80 and above as they will be able to render colors excellently. Do not choose bulbs with a color rendering index below 80.
Another thing that sets LED lights apart is their high color temperature. Color temperature is very important because it dictates the color of the light. While all light sources have a color temperature, LEDs have a bigger color temperature range, which makes them perfect for different applications.
LEDs also have the L70 rating which means they generate the same light color for their entire lifetimes. If you want your LED high bay lights to give the perception of daylight, get those with a color temperature of 5000K-6000K as they produce bluish-white light which is considered to be the closest to daylight.
3. The Payback Period Is Very Short
At The Lighting Center, we not only tell you about the benefits of LED technology, we also calculate the payback period of your LED conversion project. There are three important things we take into consideration when calculating the payback period.
- The cost of electricity
- How long the lights will operate for every day
- The rebates and incentives
If the electricity cost in your location is high (15 kWh or more) and the lighting fixtures operate for 12 hours a day, your payback period will be shorter than it would if the electricity cost was lower (below 10 kWh).
As we mentioned earlier, utility companies usually give rebates for energy-efficient lighting products. However, these products must meet certain requirements, like have DLC certification. The rebates given by utilities can help you to recoup your investment in a shorter period.
4. They Work Excellently With Lighting Controls
A good lighting design always integrates lighting controls, because they play a vital role in reducing energy consumption. Lighting controls automatically regulate the light output. There are different types of lighting controls and each plays its own role in lowering energy consumption. Dimmers can be paired with LED high bay lights to decrease or increase the intensity of the light. If lighting mood and color are crucial in your high bay application, dimmers will give you all the control you require.
LED high bay light fixtures can also be used with motion sensors which automatically switch the lights on if there’s any motion and switch them off if there is none. These lights can also be paired with occupancy sensors and timers which efficiently regulate light output.
High intensity discharge lights, which are used in older high bay applications, don’t work efficiently with lighting controls as they have a long warm up and cool down time. And while fluorescent lamps work with some lighting controls, they don’t work well with dimmers because their light output can only be lowered up to 30%.
What’s more, fluorescent lamps are usually dimmed step by step, the dimming process is not smooth and seamless. Dimming also decreases the lifespan of the bulbs. However, the case is different for LED lighting.
5. Lower Maintenance Costs
High intensity discharge lights do not have a long life expectancy and they use ballasts, which also have a short lifespan. Worse still, HID lights have a high speed of lumen depreciation and usually have to be swapped before they reach the end of their lifetimes. Because high bay lights are usually installed on very high ceilings, changing out light bulbs can be very costly – hence electricians usually replace HID bulbs all together.
The maintenance costs of traditional high bay lighting fixtures are usually steep because many replacement bulbs have to be bought at the same time and electricians also have to be paid for their work. On the contrary, LEDs have low maintenance costs thanks to their long lifespan (50,000 to 100,000 hours). They contain numerous LED chips for better light output and don’t use ballasts.
Talk to Us about LED High Bay Light Fixtures
The secret of high-quality LED high bay lights is the optics, and that’s why we use the best optics in our LEDs. They efficiently regulate the light distribution and direct the light where it is intended.
We have 10 years of experience in LED lighting and have installed high bay lights in industrial facilities, warehouses, retail stores, gymnasiums, indoor sports arenas, and other high bay applications.
All our lighting fixtures are UL Listed and DLC Certified. We are experts in LED high bay lighting. Talk to us and we’ll help make your project a success.