Commercial Warehouse Lighting

Commercial Warehouse Lighting - Case Study

A 100,000-square-foot warehouse where steel coils are cut to size, stored and ultimately shipped by truck.

Local Utility:

Cleveland Electric Illuminating


Plant Manager wants to save money on his electric bills and has asked Independent Energy Consultants to provide an assessment of his lighting. He believes in providing a well-lit environment even if it means exceeding the acceptable industry standards. There is a strong desire to project a positive image on existing and potential clients and to provide a pleasant work environment for employees.

Buying Group Description:

A 100,000-square-foot warehouse where steel coils are cut to size, stored and ultimately shipped by truck.


  • An onsite inspection of the warehouse found that it is currently lit by 150 1000-Watt Metal Halide (MH) high-bay lamps.
  • Illumination readings were taken at representative sample points across the warehouse, including points thought to be the darkest. The average illumination level was 46.2 foot-candles. Industry standards ASHRAE 90.1 and IESNA recommend 15 or more foot-candles for the "Medium/Bulky Material Warehouse" category of structures.
  • Overhead crane travel prevented lowering the lighting, which would allow for delamping some of the existing fixtures.
  • The fluorescent fixtures use programmable electronic ballasts for efficiency, immediate start and rapid restart capabilities.
  • A maintenance program was suggested that would lower the cost of replacing burnt out lamps.
  • A financial analysis that compared the capital cost, installation cost, utility bill savings, and ongoing maintenance cost was performed. The results showed an annual savings of $47,700 with a payback period of 10.3 months.
  • The office spaces are using energy efficient T-8 fluorescent bulbs with electronic ballasts and light levels are acceptable.
  • The warehouse staffing levels and times were identified and found not to lend themselves to installing occupancy and/or photo sensors.
  • A 1-for-1 replacement of the metal halide lamps with 6-lamp T5 HO full spectrum fluorescent lamp fixtures with mirrored parabolic reflectors was recommended. This would produce an estimated 39 foot-candles with a more uniform dispersion pattern. This is well above code recommendation of 15 foot-candles, will have a brighter appearance, and a higher Color Rendering Index.
  • The tax benefits contained in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 were explained and quantified.
  • Independent Energy Consultants also verified that there were no lower-cost electric suppliers in the area; and that this client was being served under the optimal utility rate schedule.
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