Understanding LED High Bays (Styles, Lumen Output, & More)
Understanding LED High Bay Lights (Style, Lumens, & More)
Selecting the right LED high bay lights for your lighting project can be a confusing endeavor. This is due to the many variations in ceiling height, fixture spacing, and more.
We recently spoke with some of our LED lighting experts and engineers to break down the different styles and types of LED high bays to determine how many you need based on your facility's individual lighting needs. This includes fixture types such as UFO high bays and linear high bays.
This interview features Kevin Kohlert a marketing expert for LED lighting products, Charlie Kughn the CEO at Commercialledlights.com, and Peter Kohlert, a former engineer at DTE Energy who works with us on LED lighting projects.
Peter also has a great deal of experience working in power plants as well as other hazardous environments. Towards the end of the presentation, Peter discusses explosion proof lighting for hazardous areas and when these specialized fixtures are applicable.
In this episode:
- [0:30] What are High Bay Lights?
- [2:20] UFO vs Linear High Bays
- [4:05] Differences between High Bay and Low Bay
- [5:20] How to determine fixture spacing
- [7:30] High Bays with Motion Sensors
- [8:45] Explosion Proof High Bays
This is Kevin and Charlie with CommercialLEDLights.com on our fourth episode of our LED lighting podcast. We also have a special guest today, our lead engineer Peter who will talk later about a specialized application for high bay lights, which is the topic of today's episode. So what I'm gonna do here is Charlie, How you doing?
I’m well Kevin, thank you.
Awesome, awesome. So let's start off with, let's just give kind of an overview. Let's, if someone doesn't know what are high bay lights exactly?
Yeah, high bay lights are one of our, really better sellers here at CommercialLEDLights.com. And what they are is, generally speaking, it's a light that is used in a commercial industrial setting, in a high ceiling environment. So we'll say 14, 15 feet, or higher, moving to the high bay bucket if you will. And I mean they go up to 40/50 ft in some special use cases. But generally speaking, it's that 15 to 30 ft range is where we find we're selling most of our high bays to our customers.
Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. And these high bays, like you said, they're used in a lot of industrial and commercial environments. Would that be like warehouses and factories to warehouses? us being based here in Detroit, you know, we get a lot of businesses right here in our backyard with all the automotive manufacturers and suppliers. So there's lots of industry here, Lots of factories, lots of warehousing and they need lights to light it and that's where I come in.
Yeah. I think a lot of people would have seen high bays before. Like if they were going down an aisle of Home Depot, some of those lights like way at the top.
Sure. Even the retail setting at the big box stores, the Costcos, the Home Depot's, they're so big and tall that they need a high bay light, not not your office light.
Yeah. I imagine it needs to be a specialized type of fixture to illuminate the area from that high of a height. That makes sense. These are specially designed for that. What are some different types of high bays. I know there's two primary categories. You have your UFO high bays and linear. Can you talk about the differences?
Yeah, the UFO, which is just a term for a round, high bay, which is more of a typical form that legacy lights have, like the metal Halides that are round. So this LED product would be round and the linear are, they're straight, they're rectangles. Anywhere from 1ft by 2ft to 2ft by 4ft even when you get into the higher wattage and higher output products, and sometimes it boils down to preference a little bit. But as you might expect with a round product, you're going to create a rarely broad round light pattern and you'll create more of a rectangular light pattern in a linear. Oftentimes they can be interchangeable and it often just comes down to a customer preference. If you are working, if you have a facility that is wide open. Oftentimes a round high bay might be better. If it's a warehouse with racking, often distribution facilities, then the high bay really need to be not putting an even pattern, but in between these aisles, and in those instances a linear would be the product would be the product you go to.
So sometimes they are interchangeable. It is important to understand the use and we can help you and walk you through that here. Once we explore where they're going and what type of facility they're going in, we'll be able to help make that recommendation, whether you want to go with a linear or around UFO style.
Okay. Yeah. Great information. And you hear the industry terms a lot ‘High Bay’, ‘Low Bay’. What's really the difference between the two?
Sure. The high bay, getting to be that, kind of 15 ft mark or higher, would be your high bay. And then low bays. You know, they call them low bays just because they're in a similar setting. So they might be in like a shop space that might be that more commercial industrial setting, but they have a 12 or 14 ft ceiling. So by the time you get to a high bay since they're meant to be put high, meant to be put higher up. If you hang one at that low of a height, you're not going to have a very good spread of light because they're really directing it, so you don't have to put them every, you know, 5 or 10 ft. Or as a Low Bay product is going to cast light wider faster if you will, so you will have a light that's hung at 14 ft, but it's going to be able to cover a larger area than a high bay would at that height.
So oftentimes with low bays, we would recommend a fixture that is actually a tubed, lamp fixture. So you have 4, 6, or 8 tube LED tubes in that fixture.
Interesting. Yeah. So let's say like I had an automotive shop or something, how many high bay lights do I need? And what's the fixture spacing? How do we determine that? Because that's, that's a lot of lights, a big ceiling.
Yeah, so there's a couple of ways we help our customers determine how many you need and the layout of these lights. One, and the most simplest ways, if it's an existing facility, in where you are replacing those lights from a metal halide legacy product.
One of the first things will ask us what do you have there now? Say we have 250 watt metal halides, and we're happy with the amount of light they put out or we want a little bit more light. And we would say ‘okay, well the easiest solution would be to do a equivalent LED which would be maybe 150 watt’, in this example which would actually provide a little more light than that 250 that the customer wants. But we were just to do it one for one replacement since they already have their layout set. Now, that's kind of the easiest and simplest way. It doesn't always it's not always that easy of course. The second option would be for us to help with a photometric study. And what we would do there is we would get the dimensions of the space and the height of the lights and then the desired amount of light they want in that space. And from there we can create a layout for them that we can deliver that show spacing height and how many foot candles they're going to get at their working surface. And that might mean they need to add lights and in many cases since it's LED they can actually delete lights from their existing setup layout.
So these are all things we can do here most of the time in-house to help customers get to the layout and the lighting levels they need right the first time.
That sounds convenient and I know that 1 particular product that's been growing in popularity is LED high bays with a motion sensor.
Yes, they are probably well over half of what we sell, they do have motion sensors on them at the request of our customers, and that might be often in like stock areas, in areas where there may not be people and forklifts moving all the time. So the lights automatically turn off and then once they detect motion, they'll click back on, or they're often programmable where they can dim down to 50%. Light levels and power usage. So there is always light there and then they'll then, once there’s motion, will trip and turn on full power.
Sounds like that could save some energy.
It saves some energy. And a lot of utilities with the rebates offer an additional rebate amount if your light has motion sensing capabilities. So for the incremental cost, which usually is not a lot, to add motion sensors to your lights, it often pays for itself very quickly, especially with the enhanced rebate most utilities offer, if you add that capability.
That sounds like a great deal to me. And now for the last topic here, I want to talk about is a specialized type of high bay. Actually it's commonly referred to as an explosion proof high bay. And for this, we're gonna bring in Peter, our lead engineer here at Commercial LED Lights.
Peter, can you just talk a little bit about, I know that you've been around a lot of power plants. And there you've seen these explosion proof high bays there. Right?
Yes. Yeah, Kevin, I have worked in a number of fossil power plants over the years. In regards to explosion proof high bay lights. They are used extensively in the turban room. The ceiling's height in the area that houses the turban is usually 40 to 50 ft high. This height is needed to allow the cranes to disassemble the turbines during outages. Another application of explosion proof high bay lights would be in the plants machine shop.
These also have high ceilings, maybe not as high as the turbine room, but there in about 20 to 30 ft range. And this height is necessary to allow smaller cranes to move plant components to be worked on and repaired.
And since there's a lot of combustible dusts in the power plant, they have to have the specialized fixtures designed that they're not going to, you know, the fixture can actually explode if it's not certified to, I believe it's class two, Division one or two, depending on this. And we'll talk more about that in another video.
You’re correct on that.
But that's about all I got for a high bays. I hope this has been informative and we'll talk to you next time.