I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Engle, Product Manager, New Product Innovation, Hubbell Lighting. The topic: trends in LED high-bay lighting. I’m happy to share his responses with you here. The interview informed an article I wrote for the February 2018 issue of tED Magazine.

DiLouie: How would you characterize the high-bay lighting market in terms of size, and current demand for high-bay lighting products?

Engle: Changes in energy codes and regulations are having a positive impact on demand for high-bay lighting products. A good example is EISA, which continues to push out legacy fixtures and certain ballasts. There are effectively no remaining untapped areas where LED technology is not widely accepted and embraced.

DiLouie: In what key areas have LED high-bay luminaires improved over the past three years, and what benefits do they offer?

Engle: Manufacturers are offering significant improvements in lumens per watt and ambient temperature suitability.

DiLouie: How would you characterize current LED high-bay luminaire offerings in terms of light output, sizes, optics, wattages, CRI, color temperatures, service life, and compatibility with or integration of lighting controls?

Engle: There is a vast range of LED high-bays available on the market today that feature a variety of options for light output, size, optics, wattages, CRI and CCT. Controls integration and compatibility continues to progress quickly and we’re now using drivers with 0 to 10v control leads to ensure they can be control enabled.

DiLouie: What are typical energy savings for replacing HID or fluorescent versus LED high-bay lighting in an existing building, assuming an equivalent maintained light level?

Engle: Lumens per watt is the best measurement. A large volume of existing HID or florescent highbays emit about 20,000 lumens of maintained light. If the replacement LED fixture features an LPW of 125, the resulting wattage to produce 20,000 lumens is 160 watts. Typical HID systems are 460 watts and typical linear fluorescent are roughly 200 watts.

DiLouie: What are the top trends in high-bay building construction, and how are they affecting demand and design of high-bay luminaires?

Engle: Consider one of the fastest growing construction sectors is for logistics and warehouse buildings. In these applications exterior fixture lensing was critical in the past to protect legacy type lamps. This is not as critical with LED. However, there is a trend toward lensing with LED to thwart direct glare cast from fixtures in lower mounting heights. Fixtures with a smaller footprint are also in demand to fit within the structure of the ceiling, sprinkler systems, and HVAC work.

DiLouie: What are the top 5 trends in LED high-bay luminaire design?

Engle: Improved lumens per watt, integrated controls, affordability, uplight and smaller sizes.

DiLouie: What are the main attributes of an LED high-bay luminaire that electrical distributors would be looking for? How do they confidently select a quality product?

Engle: Electrical distributors want performance and reliability in a fixture that is affordable and available. The preferred method to confidently select a product is to purchase a DLC listed LED high-bay from a manufacturer that has proven it will stand by its product.

DiLouie: What are the control capabilities of LED high-bay lighting? What control strategies are possible and typically implemented?

Engle: On one end of the spectrum LED lighting can be easily controlled to both dim and turn on and off. In this scenario integral occupancy and daylight sensors can be used. At the other end of the spectrum sophisticated users are looking for scheduled control, load shedding or other system wide control schemes. Most manufacturers today are primarily concerned with either dimming down or turning off the LED high-bays when it is not needed.

DiLouie: In retail high-bay, issues such as color and sparkle come to the forefront. How competitive is LED compared to ceramic metal halide and similar sources in these applications? What does LED bring to the table that’s unique?

Engle: LED high-bays designed for retail applications can feature equal or greater “sparkle” thanks HID high-bays. The use of a clear acrylic or glass reflector will enhance this effect for the retailer.

DiLouie: What impact is the proliferation of LED products having on electrical distribution business practices in general?

Engle: LED highbays have opened up many retrofit opportunities based on the large energy and maintenance savings these fixtures offer. These LED fixtures have convinced electrical distributors to evolve from the traditional HID and fluorescent lamp replacement business. Most LED high-bays, if they need any service at all, use dedicated LED boards and drivers.

DiLouie: If you could tell the entire electrical industry just one thing about LED high-bay lighting, what would it be?

Engle: It’s likely there is an efficient, reliable and affordable LED high-bay for every application.

DiLouie: Is there anything else you’d like to add about this topic?

Engle: Controls don’t have to be tricky. Ask your preferred LED manufacturer for educational materials and consider attending a non-commercial class to learn more about the technology.