Outdated Industrial Lighting – Identification guide


As winter approaches, many south London retail, commercial and industrial businesses have called us in to replace their lighting with LED units since it forms a large proportion of their running costs. A recent job we carried out for a south London garden centre has already cut their lighting costs to a tenth of the outdated systems they already had in place. Industrial lighting prior to the use of LED luminaires and other units is inefficient as the bulk of the electricity that is used goes into producing sufficient heat to make either a gas or a wire glow hot enough to give out light.

One of the things that has struck us though is that not everyone is actually sure of what lighting they already have installed so here is our insider’s guide to identifying if you have inefficient, outdated industrial lighting systems.

Low bay lighting or high bay lights?

Generally speaking, if your ceiling height is between 4 – 8 metres, low bay lighting is used. A low bay light normally resembles a rectangular box and features a diffuser on the bottom to provide an even illumination. If your ceiling height is greater than 8 metres, you will have high bay lighting. High bay lights typically have a dome shaped reflector that directs the light downwards. The bulbs used in outdated high and low bay lighting are all referred to as HID (High Intensity Discharge) bulbs. The two common types are metal halide and high pressure sodium although mercury vapour bulbs are occasionally found. They all have a similar re-strike time of 6 – 10 minutes and so tend only to be left on for long periods, even when they are not actually required. This is a waste of money. The LED replacements offer re-strike times of a few seconds and can also be dimmed, offering even more opportunities for saving on your lighting bill.

Metal halide bulbs

These are used in buildings where a high quality white/blue light is required for working. They have the distinctive elongated egg shape of all HID bulbs. They have an expected lifetime of no more than 10,000 hours and by the time they are half way through that their output will have dimmed to just 30% of the original brightness.

High pressure sodium bulbs

Also referred to as SON’s, you can tell immediately if you have this type of bulb – it gives out a yellowy orange coloured light resembling that of street lighting. It has a greater lifetime than the metal halide bulb and can last up to 15,000 hours.

Mercury vapour bulbs

These have about twice the expected lifetime of the metal halide bulbs and offer a similar quality of light (a little greener) and are generally only used where it is difficult to replace bulbs.

Direct LED replacements

One of the main concerns from our clients about changing to LED lighting is the initial cost. Costs can be kept down to a minimum by fitting direct replacement units that use the same fittings as your outdated high bay and low bay lighting.

So why not benefit from these savings this winter, contact South London Electricians on 020 3199 8248 for a free and no-obligation chat about how we can help slash your lighting costs to a fraction of what they are today.

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