A 60% energy cut in warehouse lighting – but it’s not LED

A combination of T5 fluorescent and controls has delivered a saving of 60 per cent in energy over the existing low-pressure sodium lighting installation at a warehouse in the UK.

With its lower capital cost, the scheme – at a warehouse in Thurrock, Essex run by logistics firm Wincanton – shows that the combination is a viable alternative to LED lighting.

The graph, top, shows half hour meter data, comparing energy use (kWh) in a selected aisle before the installation (2014 in red) and after (2015 in blue), during a fixed 35 day period.  Using the half-hourly data, the second graph, bottom, compares the daily energy use (mean kWh calculated from half-hourly data) before and after the upgrade, demonstrating the reduction and a more even distribution of energy consumption throughout the day.  

The company has over 4,000 vehicles and 13 million square feet of warehousing under management at 200 locations across the UK and Ireland. It approached UK manufacturer Dexeco to upgrade its existing 400W SON lowbay luminaires with energy-efficient alternatives.

Intelligent sensor control was essential, allowing light levels to adjust to the picking patterns and storage needs of Wincanton’s broad selection of clients. With the building operating 24 hours a day, an advanced control system would quickly generate substantial energy savings.

SON lighting offers a lower colour temperature of around 2200K compared to fluorescent or LED sources (these typically produce a cool-white temperature of between 4000K and 5000K), explaining its characteristic peachy-orange light colour. 

Although acceptable in many industrial scenarios, the newer light sources can offer improved light quality and distribution for a brighter, safer and more productive working environment, whilst lowering energy consumption. 

Today, both T5 and LED technology can offer significantly lower lumen depreciation and longer lifespan compared to SON or HID sources, which in turn help minimise future maintenance costs.

After conducting a site survey, the Dexeco team proposed a design using over 300 of its Verteco T5 fluorescent luminaires with integral R14 sensors.

At the warehouse, the Verteco balanced these variables by combining the latest energy-efficient T5 fluorescent sources with best-in-class optics, to allow the 3x80W luminaires to reduce the electrical load by over 60 per cent, starting from 440W per existing SON fitting, down to 275W for its T5 replacement. 

The sensor’s customisable features allowed the Verteco to synchronise with the different picking schedules of Wincanton’s large clientele, by adjusting the light levels in individual storage aisles.

In-built intelligent sensors were then programmed to switch luminaires on when presence is detected in specific areas, and adapt to daylight levels to cut energy bills further.

The integral R14 sensor and DSI dimming gear for daylight regulation and presence detection, allows each fitting to be programmed individually from ground level using a remote control. The R14 sensor is also available in three lens types: narrow, wide and ultra wide, to provide the optimal detection coverage for a variety of spaces and layouts. The sensor’s customisable features allowed the Verteco to synchronise with the different picking schedules of Wincanton’s large clientele, by adjusting the light levels in individual storage aisles. The light fittings were directly mounted onto the busbar and backflap. 

Dexreco, a subsidiary of Dextra Group specialising in waste management, ensured all obsolete fittings and components were removed and recycled where possible, according to government regulations.


  • Lux is hosting a special Lighting for Logistics and Warehousing  conference in Amsterdam on Thursday 29 September and Friday 30 September. It's free for all those involved with the management of storage and distribution. To view the details and register for a free place, click on the conference logo here