What Specs To Look for with LED High Bays in 2018
With the LED lighting industry changing so quickly, it’s important to stay on top of the trends each year to not only get a great price, but to ensure that the product you’re getting is of the highest quality. The technology is also scrutinized often by agencies such as the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), and if the high bays you buy do not meet the latest standards, and are not on their approved list, you can’t get any rebates.
Wait..What is a High Bay?
Before we start – what is a high bay anyway? It’s basically any lighting fixture, typically indoor, mounted in a large area with high ceilings (anywhere from 12 to 40+ feet). Typical applications can include big-box retail, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, gyms, , distribution centers, grocery stores, and more.
What’s the big deal with LED then?
With high bays you’re typically going to see a massive benefit if your facility currently has systems known as HID, or high intensity discharge lamps. These usually include older upside-down bowl-shaped looking light fixtures with a big bulb in the middle.
The most common is metal halide, which usually put off more of a white light, until hear end of life (10-12,000 hours) where the light can turn pink, yellow, and other random colors until burnout. Another example, yet less prevalent is the high pressure sodium or mercury vapor lamps, which are older technologies and appear very yellow or moree orange.
Arguably the biggest benefit to switching to LED is the energy savings. With LED you can significantly cut the electricity the fixture uses to produces the same amount of light.
*One important thing to note is that old fixtures use about 10-15% more electricity than the rated bulb due to the ballast power needs. Xcel Energy has a great reference that shows real wattage for all kinds of lights. You can see that here – https://www.xcelenergy.com/staticfiles/xe/Marketing/Lighting-Wattage-Guide.pdf
Here are a few examples of energy savings:
250 Watt old HID high bay – 12-18 foot mounting height – 295 watts/hour. Switching to a 90 Watt LED High Bay equals a 69% Energy Savings.
400 Watt old HID high bay – 19-29 foot mounting height – 460 watts/hour. Switching to a 160 Watt LED High Bay equals a 65% Energy Savings.
1,000 Watt old HID high bay – 30+ foot mounting height – 1,080 watts/hour. Switching to a 320 Watt LED High Bay equals a 70% Energy Savings.
Electricity savings depends on your location, utility company, electric rates (KwH and potential Demand charges), operating hours, and other factors. But we can say confidently that if your high bays are on a decent amount of time during the week, you can see a ton of utility cost savings with a LED high bay retrofit or fixture replacement.
On to This Year – What Specs to Look For.
While energy savings is probably the biggest consideration, here is our list of other things to look for with your light fixtures for 2018 –
DLC Listing – Above all to stay out of hot water, make sure the LED high bay meets the latest in DLC listing standards. The DesignLights Consortium sets the latest standards yearly for commercial & industrial LED lighting, and utility companies and other organizations pretty much all base their rebate eligibility on this list. You can easily search the list here: https://www.designlights.org/
Lumens Per Watt – Look for about 120 lumens/watt minimum. This is the amount of light per watt of power that emits from the fixture, and the number has increased over the years. It also dictates your effective energy savings. The higher the lumen output per watt, the more energy you save.
Warranty – Look for at least 5 years, that is the standard now.
Dimmability – This is nice to have, but not really the industry standard yet. Depending on your application you may not really need it, but we included it in our fixtures anyway.
Electrical Certifications – Make sure it’s UL or ETL.
Operating Hours – A high bay rated for 50,000+ is the standard, but in reality it’s likely to last longer. As far as time goes, it depends on your operating hours. For example, if your lights are on for 8 hours per day, that’s 365 * 8 = 2,920 hours. The fixture, in a good environment, should in theory last about 17 years (50,000 / 2,910 = 17.12 years).
CRI – Color Rendering Index is used in the industry to basically show the quality of light that the fixture puts out. It’s on a 0-100 scale, with 100 being as close to the light spectrum of the natural sun as possible. Look for 80 CRI or higher, which is about 15-20 points higher quality than the old technologies. Realistically, this means that your space will look more well lit and will bring out the colors within that space as well.
There are some more specs but these are some good ones to start with for this year to ensure you get the best product possible when retrofitting to LED. The above applies to any high bay with similar specs or shape.
You’re welcome to visit our high bay product line that meets all the latest requirements by clicking here.
3bl LED is an energy efficient lighting manufacturer focuses on working with distributors to provide LED projects just like the above. If you have a project or would like to apply to become a distributor, please contact us here.