> FOCUS WIDE OPEN SPACES
“You may find you have sufficient light levels in the ware-
house without running the LEDs at their full power,” Wolfman
said. “You need to determine where no light, low light or more
light is needed based on levels of activity. For instance, shelved
areas that store inventory, sometimes stacked to the ceiling,
may need more light so workers can find and identify product.
If a warehouse has skylights or other natural light, controls
[featuring] daylighting could help deliver deep energy savings
using less artificial light during the day.”
Lessons learned in big office-lighting design can have appli-
cations for the smaller office spaces in a warehouse, as well.
“One important impact could be accommodating the range
of ages working in a warehouse,” Wolfman said. “Individual
lighting control can play a role if you have both 30-year-olds and
employees twice that age, each with different sight capability.”
While warmer temperatures can affect LED performance,
luminaires are advancing to perform better in warehouse settings where air conditioning isn’t typically installed.
Good, better, best
“The argument of value is no longer just energy savings,” Bair
said. “It’s controllability. It can be networked, offer wireless
communication, be expandable. Warehouse managers are now
seeing the significance to it in their operations.”
Bair said value can be described to a potential customer
through a “good-better-best” scenario.
“‘Good’ represents better lighting with future connectivity,”
Bair said. “‘Better’ connotes an upgrade with a nonnetworked
addition. ‘Best’ is a fully networked, integrated solution, offer-
ing mobility when controlling your system—the ability to run
reports, analyses of the lighting and other controls. Owners can
plan ahead or find ways to optimize and troubleshoot before
failure. Each add-on within a control system helps advance the
Integrated, networked control might also allow for problem
solving, such as using lighting to address safety concerns.
“Perhaps you program the lighting in such a way so movement in the warehouse triggers lights to signal a forklift
operator that someone is around the corner,” she said. “And
then there’s convenience. Software attuned to the Internet of
Things can give facility managers system control from virtually any mobile device or laptop. Advancements in wireless and
lighting fixtures equipped with multiple sensors offer a world
of building control not considered possible until today.”
Bair sees programmable and upgradable networked lighting
systems as a way to futureproof a warehouse operation.
“By having the right hardware structure in place, you
remain connectable in the future,” she said. “Maybe you start
in a middle tier when buying LED lighting. You add some un-
networked controls such as OCs [open controls] and daylight
harvesting but know you can build from there by networking
your system down the road.”
According to Wolfman, if warehouse owners are consider-
ing LEDs, they should go all in.
“LED luminaires come in all shapes and sizes,” he said. “For
example, I see tubular LED performing very well. While its LED
light is directional—like all LEDs—you are losing less light with
the luminaire and achieving higher life, less maintenance and
fewer replacements. Taking a wireless approach offers far less
invasion of the lighting and controls installation space. You avoid
the possible opening up of the ceiling or office walls. Controls will
help you maximize your luminaries, extending their efficiency.”
Bair offers another, equally compelling argument.
“Price is relative when it comes to controls, especially with
multiple sites,” she said. “By taking a networked approach,
maybe cloud-based, you’ve now gained the capability to con-
trol multiple sites from your smartphone or laptop. A wireless
mesh network offers great benefits for self-commissioning a
You must understand your application space with wire-
less. Make sure there’s no interference with the wireless
Bair is a fan of demos. GE installs demos across its facilities
when configuring LED lighting and controls.
“Demos are a great way to test the technologies likely to be
deployed,” she said. “They also allow you to see where the controls
could expand down the road for your warehouse customer.”
GAVIN, LEED Green Associate, is the owner of Gavo
Communications, a sustainability-focused marketing services firm
serving the energy, construction, and landscaping industries. He can
be reached at email@example.com. I M
Warehouses of all types,
such as this oil and gas
facility, are incorporating
LED lighting and controls.