Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
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Getting to grips with energy-saving lighting technology

With many industry guides on saving energy out of date, Joseph Smith advises on the current situation with LED and other low-energy lighting technologies.


Saving energy may be a high priority, yet guidance on energy-efficiency remains hard to find. There are industry guides dedicated to energy-saving out there, including one from the UKWA (United Kingdom Warehousing Association), but many of these guides are outdated. With technology moving fast, even a guide that’s two years out of date won’t give an accurate picture of energy-saving technology.

Warehouse managers need to get to grips with the current thinking on low-energy lighting. It’s time to cut through the noise and find out which energy-saving solutions can really work for warehouses.

LED: separating fact from fiction

In a fast-moving industry, no technology is changing faster than LED. The long life, high efficiency and compact size of LED lighting make it an attractive way to slash both energy consumption and maintenance burden on site. And, as prices drop, LED is finally becoming affordable.

Yet the LED industry has become something of a ‘Wild West’. In a market flooded with newly-formed ‘lighting’ companies that are promoting LEDs (and LEDs alone), customers are being caught out by unscrupulous suppliers. Not only are many of these companies boasting misleading energy-savings figures and lifespans, some are recommending the use of LEDs in the wrong applications.

The glare problem

The key problem with current LED technology is that it produces high-intensity glare. LEDs were originally categorised under ‘lasers’, and some poorly-designed LED products still resemble lasers, with no glare control. In a warehouse that uses forklifts to load and unload goods from high racking, lighting glare can be potentially dangerous. If a forklift driver glances up directly at the laser-like lighting, he’ll be dazzled. Even momentarily, this could cause him to lose control of his forklift, which could easily lead to serious injury.

This means that warehouse managers need to be careful where they use LED lighting, in order to maintain health and safety standards. LED is an appropriate solution for general warehouse lighting, where staff members take a general view across the warehouse floor. However, in any warehouse with high racking, where staff will be looking up, LED products are not currently suitable.

Remember, however, that LED technology is evolving fast. Lighting companies at the forefront of RD are already developing solutions that limit glare from LED and make it suitable for all warehouse types. At Tamlite Lighting, our RD team is constantly looking for new ways of improving lighting performance. We’re currently developing a new LED solution with glare control, designed for warehouses, which will be available later this year.

Comparing fluorescent with LED

LED may be close to catching up to the demands of warehouses with high racking, but until that day arrives, fluorescent lighting remains the best solution. Although fluorescent may be seen as ‘old hat’ by some, modern fluorescent solutions (T5) actually offer energy-efficiency and long lifespans that are comparable with LED. What’s more, fluorescent lighting doesn’t produce the same glare as LED – and it’s available at a lower capital cost.

Leading the charge of new-generation fluorescent lighting is the HILUX range from Tamlite. Using the latest T5 or PL-L options, HILUX can be fitted with lamps that last up to 45,000 hours. When compared with standard LED lifespans of 50,000 hours, the lower-cost fluorescent solution no longer seems like the poor relation in terms of energy saving.

Clever controls

Choosing the right lighting is just part of the drive to lower energy use. Controlling that lighting is just as important. Too many warehouses invest in low-energy lighting, but then continue to light empty spaces, needlessly pushing up their energy bills. In warehouses with low or infrequent footfall, modern lighting controls can make a huge difference to a company’s energy burden and its maintenance outlay. After all, lighting that’s used less intensively requires less maintenance.

In the past, warehouses could only use crude lighting controls, with rudimentary motion detectors that often left people in the dark. Now, however, with modern solutions like HILUX, the controls are built into the luminaire, which means that light levels are instantly (and automatically) increased when needed, particularly when daylight sensors are incorporated into the system. Microwave sensors provide highly-sensitive motion detection in very large or complex spaces, while PIR (passive infrared) sensors are able to detect a person’s presence in smaller spaces. Using a sensor solution like Tamlite’s VISION range means that when an area is not being used, the lights can be dimmed or switched off completely, reducing energy use.

The priority to save energy across warehouse premises remains balanced by a need to uphold health and safety, and keep a close eye on the budget. Warehouses are not always straightforward environments for installing new technologies. Yet, armed with the right knowledge, it’s possible to make savvy choices that will net real energy savings.

Author: Joseph Smith is Head of Sustainability at Tamlite Lighting, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and designers of lighting.

Tamlite Lighting

Joseph Smith,

Marketing and Production Manager

Tel: 01527 517777


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