> FOCUS BY JEFF GAVIN
A MARRIAGE IS HAPPENING. Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting and controls may soon be inseparable. While popular in offices, the combined benefits of efficiency, lower cost and building-operation analysis are extending to other workspaces. One such place is the warehouse,
where owners seek new levels of building management to better serve a booming market of online commerce and on-demand inventory.
It starts with LED adoption. In statistics provided by Gray-bar, St. Louis, more than 50 percent of all high-bay applications
are expected to be LED by 2021. High-bay lighting is a popular
application in warehouses and distribution centers. Tubular
LED lamps, good retrofit kits and new solid-state fixtures are
also providing options. The conversation to add intelligent
lighting control is more applicable now than ever.
When looking at a new lighting investment, warehouse
owners have specific needs. They include achieving higher rate
on return; efficient building operation through lower operating
costs, reduced maintenance and downtime; and a better work
environment with improved safety.
Justin Moon, director of strategic marketing, Acuity Brands,
Atlanta, said lighting represents 60 percent of a warehouse’s
energy costs. He estimated a 61 percent savings can be had in an
all-LED changeout from fluorescent, with a 70 percent savings
when switching from high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps,
and a projected 87 percent savings when LED is integrated with
Maintaining a tight operating budget is helping propel
smart-lighting adoption in warehouses.
“I typically suggest the need to save 10 percent in energy
costs to keep up with rising electricity retail pricing,” Moon said.
He and others in the lighting industry see the combination of LED lighting and intelligent controls going a long way
toward staying ahead of those costs.
“LED lighting is changing the game,” said Teresa Bair,
product general manager—outdoor and industrial at Current,
powered by GE, based in Boston. “You saw it in the office space
first with lighting that became easier to control. Now LED
lumen outputs have increased to better serve what has historically been HID lighting in the warehouse. HID made controls
challenging including dimming. That’s no longer the case for
LEDs with 0– 10 volts built into most LED systems, which is one
reason LED and controls have accelerated. The controllability
of LEDs, and its benefits, has allowed manufacturers to think
ahead, expand control capability that can be built out.”
Painting a picture
Electrical contractors (ECs) can be an invaluable resource in
helping warehouse decision-makers understand how LED
lighting and controls might help their operations.
Lighting controls find a home in the warehouse