Much of the talk about reducing energy consumption in lighting focuses on the lamp. This is aimed at the consumer market, where the simple act of unscrewing an incandescent lamp and screwing in an LED direct replacement will lower energy usage (though it adversely affects power quality). Contractors in that market can save customers money by recommending and installing dimmers, timers, and sensors to reduce wasteful usage.
In the industrial environment, the common recommendations for lamp changes simply do not work for many applications. One of those applications is the high bay, commonly found in warehouses and production areas. High bay lighting has progressed from incandescent fixtures to fluorescent to metal halide. This progression wasn’t fueled by energy efficiency needs, but by the need to provide high quality ambient light from overhead fixtures in a high-ceiling area.
You can improve the available light by cleaning the lenses, relamping on the recommended schedule, and (usually) increasing the size of the neutral. You may also be able to increase the available light by adjusting the shades. You can improve the effective available light by repositioning individual lamps so they are over where the light is needed and/or don’t cast shadows due to an obstruction, such as a beam.
By improving the available light from the high-bay lights, you may reduce or eliminate the use of task lighting. In our next issue, we’ll look at how to directly reduce lighting energy consumption.