Three ways to light a warehouse

Lux's technical editor Alan Tulla looks at three ways to approach lighting warehouses and logistics centres

Warehouses and logistics centres can be very large. As well as rows of racking, they may also contain packing areas and loading/unloading bays.  

Some open areas where goods, often on pallets, are stored are no more than, say, 1m - 1.5m high. Racking, on the other hand can be up to 6m – 10m high. 

In relation to warehouses, EN12464 says that a continuously occupied space, where little perception of detail is required, should be lit to 200 lux. Manned gangways/aisles should be lit to 150 lux. The vertical illuminance on the racking should also be 200 lux where possible. Although it does mention that achieving this on a vertical surface near ground level can be difficult. 

Whenever you are lighting a space, you need to consider what activities are involved. This is especially true of logistics centres where staff are mainly active but others may not move from their workstation for long periods of time. 200 lux is sufficient for general movement and stacking but you may need 300 lux if staff have to read or write shipping documents. You might even need 500 lux in some areas to read the small print on labels. 

Any new or retrofit scheme should include dimming and motion sensors. There can be huge savings by dimming aisles that are not in use. 

Our warehouse is 40m x 50m and 10m to the roof. It is lit to at least 200 lux horizontal in all areas.




Warehouses and logistics centres often change their internal layout. This may be due to the size of the goods being handled or other issues such as increased or reduced space needed for racking. The Prismaspace gives the ultimate in flexibility. The most notable aspect being that the optical units can be rotated to give the maximum illumination on vertical surfaces such as racking or tall stacks of pallets on vehicles. You can see how they work in the photo. 

This versatility is shown in the rendering where the whole warehouse is totally illuminated with the Prismaspace. We have used wide angle versions above the open spaces in the foreground and used the narrower distribution in the racking aisles. Tilting the optics allows us to get good vertical illumination on the loading bay doors and high racking. 

This enables you to achieve the best 'volumetric illumination', which Holophane describe as the optimal mix of light to wall, partitions, vertical and horizontal work surfaces. This reduces shadowing and increases the perceived volume of space. 

There are single and twin versions delivering from 3,000 lm to 21,000 lm. There is a wide range of colour rendering, colour temperature and beam spreads. Another aspect is that the Holophane trunking system can incorporate mains power, Dali control and emergency circuits.

Tech spec
  • Luminaire Prismaspace
  • Optical control Prismatic
  • Total installed load8.4kWIlluminance
  • Horizontal in open areas, 350 lux
  • Average vertical on racking, 200 lux
  • Average horizontal between racking, 355 lux


Another good solution is to use a combination of the Haloprism and IBH. The Haloprism is a torus shaped luminaire with excellent beam control and very high lumen output; up to 55,000 lm. There are five different optics, has low glare and will operate up to 50C. It was a well-deserved Lux Award winner in 2013. Here, we have used it in the open foreground and the loading bays to the left. 

The IBH is specifically designed as a one for one replacement of HID or multi-lamp fluorescent luminaires. Delivered outputs are from 9,000 lm to 36,000 lm so you can replace almost any luminaire up to 400W metal halide or 400W high pressure sodium. It is available in narrow or wide distributions.
The 155W IBH has been used in the aisles to replace the old 2 x 125W fluorescent trough reflector luminaires – a 40% saving in energy. 

Tech spec
  • Luminaire Haloprism and IBH
  • Optical control Prismed glass (Haloprism) and clear for IBH
  • Total installed load
  • 6.7kWIlluminanceHorizontal in open areas, 340 lux
  • Average vertical on racking, 220 lux
  • Average horizontal between racking, 290 lux.

Metal halide was a good solution in its time. Indoors, high pressure sodium always looked gloomy and was no good where any kind of colour discrimination was required. Metal halide, albeit less efficient, did give white light. Unfortunately, the more efficient quartz versions did tend to change their appearance over a period of time giving blue, green or sometimes pink tints to the lamps. 

More importantly, the life of metal halide lamps wasn’t all that great, maybe 6,000 to 9,000 hours. Maintenance, especially high up between racking, was always a problem. Another issue was that, because the arc was so small, they could be intensely glaring to any worker who looked directly upwards into them. 

Whilst it was easy to achieve good levels of horizontal illumination and uniformity at ground level, it was often difficult to achieve good uniformity on the vertical surfaces, especially high up. You can see from the rendering that there are dark regions on the racking between the luminaires. 

Tech spec
  • Luminaire 400W metal halide
  • Optical contro Spun aluminium reflector
  • Total installed load
  • 13.2kW
  • Illuminance
  • Horizontal in open areas, 300 lux
  • Average vertical on racking, 220 lux
  • Average horizontal between racking, 275 lux