Warehouse Lighting – What’s involved, LED, Types used, Typical cost per m2

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Warehouse Lighting

Warehouses are all built to have high ceilings, high shelving, large floor surfaces, and very few windows, all of which make it essential to have proper warehouse lighting for two main reasons: safety and productivity.

When compared to other buildings, warehouses have special needs when it comes to lighting, and their general building structure, operations, and a lack of natural lighting all need to be taken into consideration.

The installation of adequate and proper warehouse lighting not only enables the workers to perform their tasks accurately and efficiently within the warehouse but also helps maximise safety by reducing the number of accidents due to a lack of proper lighting.

When installed outside the warehouse, it also adds to the security of the building by illuminating the area and making everything and everyone visible. This helps keep intruders and burglars away for the fear of getting seen and caught.

Read on to find out what is involved in warehouse lighting, the different types of lighting used, the benefits of LED lighting in warehouses, the typical costs per square meter, and much more:


When planning or upgrading the lighting in your warehouse, a lot of things are involved that need to be taken into consideration.

Here are all the factors you need to keep in mind and the questions you need to ask yourself before choosing the best lighting specific to your warehouse and its needs:


When it comes to warehouse lighting, there are three options available:

  • High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps,
  • Fluorescent, and
  • LED lighting.

For a long time, HID lights were thought of as the only option for warehouse lighting and are still often used in many warehouses. They have the lowest initial cost; however, they do not offer many colour options and have the highest rate of lumen depreciation.

All HID lights need ample time to warm up before reaching maximum illumination and a cooling time after being turned off before they can be switched on again. What this implies is that not only are they not as quick but also that power surges can cause them to be off for up to 15 minutes at a time.

Fluorescent lighting, on the other hand, while still offering a low initial cost, offers a more energy-efficient solution since they consume less energy than HID lamps.

They are available in a much wider range of colour temperatures, ranging from 2700K to 6500K, along with different shapes and sizes to allow you more flexibility when lighting up your warehouse.

The biggest downside to using fluorescent lighting is that they have operating temperature limitations and do not function well in extreme temperatures.

Therefore, warehouses that get very hot or very cold have a drastic effect on the lifespan of fluorescent lights. Frequent on/off cycles can also have a negative impact on their life, which is why they aren’t suitable for properties that have to turn the lights on or off very often.

Out of the three options, LED lights are the most versatile, energy-efficient, and overall best choice for warehouse lighting. They use the least amount of energy and are highly durable.

Since they can last for up to 100,000 hours and do not suffer from constant on/off cycles, you don’t have to worry about dragging out the ladder and replacing them every few months.


When it comes to lighting fixtures, the brightness of the bulbs plays a huge part in how effective they are in serving their purpose.

The amount of light, aka the brightness, that you are getting from a bulb is measured in lumens (L), where more lumens mean a brighter light and fewer lumens mean a dimmer light.

In addition to the lumen levels, the colour of the warehouse ceiling and walls can also make a huge difference when it comes to illumination.

Lighter colours have a higher reflectance than darker colours, which is why you must always opt for white warehouse ceilings and walls.

This way, you may be able to use lights with a lower lumen output, giving you the bonus of consuming less energy and saving energy costs in the long run.

You can get away with lower lumen output fixtures also if your warehouse has a skylight, and make use of natural light as much as possible.

Of course, if that is the case, you would have to figure out a way to turn on only a few lights on sunny days, which you can accomplish by wiring fixtures to multiple switches instead of one, so that you may turn on only as many as are needed.

Another very important factor to consider is that of glare since extremely bright lights can decrease productivity and result in warehouse accidents. An easy anti-glare solution would be to invest in diffuser lens covers for the bright lighting fixtures.


A bulb’s colour temperature is an important factor to consider since it affects how the produced light would look and feel like.

It is a way to describe the light appearance provided by a light source and is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale ranging from 1000K to 10,000K.

On the lower end of the Kelvin scale, from 2000K to 3000K, the colour temperature is called warm white and ranges from orange to yellowish-white in appearance.

Moving up a little between 3100K and 4500K, it is called cool white and emits a more neutral white light with a possible slight blue tint.

Colour temperatures above 4500K are similar to daylight and give off a blue-white light that is similar to that of sunlight.Top of Form

Although it may not seem to be of much importance, the colour temperature of the lights is an important thing to consider in warehouses since it makes a huge difference in visibility and productivity.

Colour temperatures ranging between 4000K and 5000K are considered to be the best choice for warehouses since they emit a cool white light, often with a bluish tint, that is proven to increase productivity, reduce eyestrain, and create a better work environment.


Even if you have done all the necessary research for choosing the perfect type of warehouse lighting with the perfect brightness and colour temperature, choosing the wrong type of light distribution can have a major negative impact on your warehouse lighting.

The distribution of light refers to the pattern of light emitting from the light fixture. When it comes to warehouses, depending on the layout of the building, you would typically need one of two types of light distribution.

If you have a warehouse with tall shelves and racks, you would need a very long and narrow light pattern to ensure that the light reaches every corner and isn’t lost or blocked by the shelf tops.

If your warehouse is built on a more open floorplan, light patterns that distribute light in a wide area from all sides of the light fixture would be more suitable.

In any case, the main factor should be that the type of light distribution you choose, depending on how your warehouse is built, maximises visibility, improves safety, and reduces picking errors.


To properly illuminate your warehouse, maximise productivity, and minimise accidents, you need to position the lights in a way that the maximum level reaches all areas of the warehouse.

In this regard, spacing of the light fixtures is crucial since positioning them too close together may increase the risk of hot spots and glare, whereas positioning them too far apart may result in dark areas that are not well-lit.

Before purchasing and installing the lights in your warehouse, make sure to map out exactly where they need to be positioned. If you are unsure, consult a professional electrician who would be able to guide you better on how to not over or under illuminate your warehouse.


When it comes to lighting huge spaces such as warehouses, you need to be sure that it is as energy efficient as possible, or you might be looking at huge energy bills by the end of every month.

To make your lighting system more user-friendly and energy-efficient, you may want to look into occupancy and vacancy sensors that are designed to reduce the cost of wasted energy by up to 30%.

These sensors work by automatically turning the lights on or off, depending on whether someone is present in the area or not.

You may use occupancy sensors when you want the lights to turn on automatically when someone enters. Vacancy sensors, on the other hand, are perfect for areas that do not need the lights to turn on every time someone enters, such as warehouses with huge skylights that receive ample sunlight to keep it well-illuminated, but still want them to turn off as soon as the area is empty.


LED lights are one of the best options when it comes to warehouse lighting, and here are all the reasons why:

Incredible energy savings

When compared to other forms of traditional lighting, LED lights help reduce energy consumption by around 75% which, when paired with automatic controls and motion sensors, can go up to 90%!

You can easily replace a 50-watt bulb with a 5-watt LED, and that has a lot to do with how they work.

While a traditional lighting fixture uses only 20% of its energy to produce light and propels the rest as heat, LED lights work the other way around by converting 80% of the energy into light and the remaining 20% as heat and other forms of energy.

Great cost savings

When LED bulbs first came out, they were a bit pricey and not many people were particularly excited about replacing their existing lights with new LEDs.

The good news is that with time, the price has come down considerably and is constantly becoming even more affordable.

While they still have a higher initial cost as compared to other types of lighting, they can easily return your investment in less than a year in terms of great energy and cost savings.

Reduced maintenance costs

Due to much better heat dissipation, LED bulbs last around 20 times longer than other bulbs. They have a long life expectancy of more than 50,000 hours, and that too without showing any signs of prolonged use.

Based on an average usage of 8 hours per day, an LED bulb is expected to last for at least 17 years!

Not only does this mean lower maintenance costs but it also means that your workers won’t have to frequently climb heights to replace the bulbs every few months.

Enhanced workers’ productivity

As an employer, it is your responsibility to motivate and create a productive work environment for your workers and, believe it or not, lighting plays a huge part in it.

When it comes to the quality of light produced by a fixture, it is denoted by a Colour Rendering Index (CRI) value that ranges between 0 and 100.

By opting for LED lighting that has a higher CRI and that mimics natural light, you can improve productivity among your warehouse employees.

In addition to that, LED lighting also helps regulate circadian rhythms, which are an internal bodily process regulating our sleep-wake cycle that plays a huge role in employee productivity and health.

Free of harmful chemicals

Not only are LED lights free of chemicals that are harmful to both humans and the environment, but they are also 100% recyclable.

Fluorescent lighting, on the other hand, contains mercury and needs to be disposed of off properly as to not contaminate the waste site.

In addition to that, since LED bulbs are more energy-efficient and have a much longer lifespan than other bulbs, they do not need to be replaced regularly, making a huge positive impact on the demand and production of energy and helping the environment by producing much less pollution.


The typical cost per square meter for warehouse lighting depends on several factors. The best way to calculate it is to add together the total costs for supplies, labour, overhead costs, as well as profit margins, and divide it by the total number of square meters that the lighting needs to be laid out on.

Many professional electricians also work at an hourly rate, which is on average about £35 to £60 per hour these days across the UK. Of course, this may vary depending on where you are located and the expertise of the electrician working on your warehouse lighting.

If you look at the running costs of warehouse lighting, the annual running cost of a typical 700+ lumen LED bulb is around £1.71, compared to £2.04 for CFLs, and £8.42 for halogen bulbs, making LED bulbs the clear winner when it comes to long-term savings and energy efficiency.


We, at Calder Electrical, provide a comprehensive solution for lighting all kinds of properties including residential, commercial, as well as industrial properties such as warehouses.

We understand the unique lighting needs of warehouses and are here to provide you with the best ways to not only properly illuminate your property but also make it incredibly energy-efficient.

Our LED lighting services include:

We can survey your warehouse and create a lighting design to see if we can not only reduce the number of light fittings but also make the area reach a lighting level suitable for use.

We can also incorporate motion detectors so that the lights in certain areas of the warehouse are only switched on when someone enters those areas.

We can give you an energy calculation to show your current lighting costs and the estimated costs by upgrading to LED lighting so that you can see how much you will save, normally aiming for a 40% saving.

If you are undertaking a new installation, we can help you create a lighting design suitable for the warehouse layout and intended usage.

We provide high and efficient levels of LED installation services guaranteed to meet the current wiring regulations BS7671.

In addition to this, we also provide electrical testing and maintenance services undertaken by our NICEIC-certified electricians who make sure all your electrical installations meet the current regulations and that all the notifiable work is signed off by the local authorities.

Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 3001 to talk to our leading experts right away!

Photo by Remy Gieling on Unsplash