LED Energy Efficient Industrial Warehouse Lighting

Warehouse Lighting & Lights

Many warehouses don’t have enough lighting. They look dark and gloomy, and can be a bit like going in to the dark ages in an industrial building.

Have you ever walked in to a well lit stores area and instantly been impressed? They look much better, and are a much nicer environment to work in.

Well designed warehouse lights should:

  • Enable people to work quickly, efficiently, accurately and comfortably.
  • Provide a safe environment.
  • Provide a nice environment for those who are working in it.

Warehouses can be challenging to illuminate as shelves of materials block reflected light, which we usually reply on to help with large areas.

Staff need to read labels, as well as see down isles, but illuminating a large building can use a lot of energy.

We use CAD to model how a proposed lighting design will work with all of those factors. We can easily change a CAD design until we get a good solution. Time which is much better spent now, rather than trying to improve a ‘disappointing’ installation some 8-12m in the air!

Good warehouse lighting will improve accuracy, productivity, and morale.


This is a free, and brilliant source of light.

Many industrial buildings have sky lights which let in a lot of light. Well, they do, provided they are not covered in leaves or algae. If these can be kept clear and clean, they should be. People like natural daylight more than any other type of light.

If you are lucky enough to have plenty of daylight in your warehouse, then lighting control systems which will dim the artificial lights during the day will help save energy.

One little point, which is not usually an issue in warehouses, but might be worth considering: Ensure that skylights and windows do not reflect on to a PC screen, making it hard for the staff to see. There is usually plenty of scope to rotate a screen in a warehouse, but it is worth thinking about this when you decide where to locate them.


The tall racks, fall of pallets and boxes block a lot of light. Often, on the lights directly above an isle will be able to provide any useful light.

The higher the racking, the more light is obstructed.

Colours & Surfaces

The colour and surface type of the floors, walls and ceilings will affect how much light is reflected. Light colours reflect light, and glossy surfaces help reflect light.

Avoid dark coloured floors, walls and ceilings. Even if you have a lot of light, rooms with dark walls and floors appear quite dark. Just look at a pictures of warehouses on google images and you will see which colours look brightest.

How Much Light Do We Need?

The amount of light required is always related to the type of work which is to be undertaken in that area. The more detailed the work, the more light will be needed.

Activity Minimum Illuminance
Automated Aisles 20 lux
Manned Aisles 150 lux
Continuously Occupied Areas with Low Perception of Detail Required 200 lux
Continuously Occupied Areas with Perception of Detail Required 300 lux

These are the main areas. Other areas to consider, with different lighting needs, are, offices, rest-rooms, canteens, stairs, lifts, lobbies, etc.

Discomfort Glare

This can be quite bad for forklift truck drivers. When looking up and being ‘glared’ by the ceiling lights whilst trying to position a pallet on the racking.

It occurs when there is one item in our field of view much brighter than the average brightness of our field of view.

It can also occur with skylights too.

This can be improved by having a higher number of lights, so that the average luminance is higher, and the peak luminance is lower.

Colour Rendering

If colour is used to convey information, such as the colour of pallets, labels, etc, then lighting which enables us to distinguish between colours will be required.

Some warehouse lights, like the orange coloured street lights, make it very difficult for the human eye to identify different colours. These should only be used if identifying colours is not important.

How well a light replicates colours in comparison to day light is called the Colour Rendering Index (CRI) and warehouse lights with a rating of at least 60%, but preferably 80% should be used.

Emergency Lighting

This can be quite difficult to achieve when needing to illuminate such a large space full of shadow inducing racking. It will take careful planning.

Maintenance of Warehouse Lights

More often than not, the lamps are located at height, needing cherry pickers to access them. The cost of the lamp can be negligible compared to cost of getting at them.

If it is possible to design a lighting solution to avoid the use of expensive equipment, then it should be avoided.

The long life of LED lights are appealing as good LED warehouse lights won’t need replacing very often.

If you are not using LED, then a scheduled lamp replacement programme should be used. If the lamps have a life of 15,000 hrs, then plan to change them all at, say 10,000 hrs. The lamp life given is an average figure, so at 15,000 hrs you would expect only half of your lights to be working. Those that haven’t stopped working at 10,000 hrs will do so soon, so change them anyway.

They cost a little more, but you won’t need the cherry picker as often!

Control of Warehouse Lights

Warehouses tend to be large areas with a few people. They do not need to be fully lit all of the time.

However, some warehouse lights can not be turned on and off all the time. They need time to warm up and cool down.

It is not always nice for employees to be working next to a large dark cavernous space. They may not admit it, but they do get a little scared.

Aside from using a lighting control system to dim lights when there is plenty of natural light available, they can also be used to dim areas which are not being used, and saving energy.

Motion sensors can also be used for offices and rest rooms so lights are not left on when these areas are not in use.

Low Energy Lighting in Warehouses

There are several different ways to design warehouse lighting.

If the facility is running 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, then an LED warehouse lighting solution is likely to be very cost effective. If the operating hours are less, then alternative lamps might be appropriate.

The warehouse lights should be selected with consideration to a control system, as that can significantly reduce the operating hours.


We hope that you have found the above information helpful, and you are able to avoid some of the common mistakes people make.

How Lighting Projects Can Help

We can incorporate all of the above, and more, it into a design, supply and installation project. Some clients just need just the design service, or design and supply.

With the performance of a business driven by the performance of it’s staff, this is part of a warehouse project that needs to be right.

We have completed successful warehouse lighting refurbishments and have testimonials from pleased customers.

We would love to talk to you about yours.