Industrial/Commercial Recommended Lighting Levels

Industrial/Commercial Recommended Lighting Levels

One of the biggest questions involved with purchasing lights for your industrial or commercial space is how many are needed. If you just want to replace your existing fixtures with their LED equivalents, we have a post to help you do that. If you want lights for a new build, or if you want to improve your current lighting layout, figuring out what’s needed is a different process altogether. Here, you’ll learn how to figure out what’s needed and/or create your own lighting layout.

The first question that needs to be answered is how much light is required in your space. The answer can be found in a document published by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). In their Lighting Handbook, the IES has an extensive list of suggested lighting levels for commercial and industrial spaces, such as warehouses, retail and auto shops, and parking areas. They work to inform the public of the best lighting practices to meet visual and aesthetic needs. As stated on their website, the IES is “. . . an accredited Standards Development Organization (SDO) under American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved procedures.” The organization consists of different types of lighting professionals who are all working toward quality lighting design for every space.

Now that you’ve seen the IES list, it’s time to figure out approximately how many fixtures you’ll need. A graphic like the Illumination Diagram shown below can be found on LM-79 reports and photometric PDF files on our product information pages. These diagrams show foot-candles and lux produced by a fixture when mounted at different ceiling heights. They also show beam distance, which is the area covered by the light from the point of 50 percent intensity on both sides. Beams are brightest in their centers and fade as light spreads outward. Beam distance can change based on surface/wall reflectivity.

Ultimately, what’s most important in these cones is foot-candles at different heights. This allows you to find your ceiling height and quickly tell if a fixture can emit what you need. Once you know what fixture is capable of this, it’s time to do some critical thinking and take a common-sense approach to your lighting design.

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