Division Series

From HID to LED: The Evolution of Highbay Lighting

21st June 2017

The Evolution of Highbay Lighting

Over the last few years, the traditional highbay light has seen a large transformation. The good old days of High Intensity Discharge (HID) or T5 highbays has given way to the new LED products that are far more energy efficient.

The Beginning of the LED Evolution

For more than 20 years, the HID highbay was the standard for lighting large areas such as warehouses, big box retail and most industrial facilities. Changes to more efficient types of lighting, mainly T5 HO, became more prevalent in the early 2000s for areas that did not require industrial specification. T5 technology was a good way to decrease energy costs by up to 25% and helped address the issue of rapid lumen depreciation in HID technology. T5 technology, while a better solution for many highbay applications, also had its downfalls. T5 fixtures have 4 to 6 lamps per fixture and the testing methods for these lamps led to potential premature failure of some bulbs before the rated life and costly spot replacement to maintain the fixtures. Another difficulty of T5 was that it was not a simple circular fixture with hook mounting, like the traditional HID, instead replacement required new mounting hardware and was difficult to line up due to its square shape.

Then came this new lighting technology, LED, that promised to address all the issues of HID and T5.

5 Ways LED Improved HID Highbay Lighting

1. Increased efficiency by more than 50%

The new LED highbays are over 50% more efficient than the HID, which vastly reduces energy consumption. How? In LED lamps, the majority of the electricity is used towards making more light while little to none is being used to generate heat, making it more energy-efficient.

2. Longer product life

LED highbays offer life expectancies of 50,000 hours or greater. This is due to the fact that LEDs rarely burn out like traditional lamps do; instead, they gradually produce less output over a longer period of time and the lifespan is measured by 30% lumen depreciation.

3. LED directionality

Unlike traditional lamps which spread light more spherically, LED light is very directional. This allows LED highbays to increase lumen output while working more efficiently than traditional sources leading to decreased wattages.

4. LED durability

Unlike traditional lamps, LEDs do not have filaments and hence are not as sensitive to jarring and bumping, making LEDs perfect for industrial and commercial applications. Fluorescent technology is very temperature sensitive, they do not function well at cold temperatures, whereas LEDs work better in a colder ambient temperature. This makes LEDs ideal for outdoor storage and cold storage applications.

The Evolution of Highbay Lighting

This was the future of highbay lighting, all these great features, but what was the catch? Cost!

Although these new LED lights were the perfect solution, the initial cost of this new technology was staggering and acceptance of LED was minimal. LED technology was just evolving: could it be trusted to work in any environment; it must have weaknesses? These weaknesses soon came to light; they were sensitive to heat, they required huge heat sinks that made them heavy, and they did not look like traditional products.

Over the last 3 to 4 years, LED technology has rapidly addressed all of these weaknesses. Products are now available to work in high temperature, the life spans have increased to greater than 100,000 hours, and the traditional looks are now the normal.

Nonetheless, the biggest advancement has been the reduction of overall cost.

5. Reduced overall costs

Today, LED highbays are available for direct replacement of HID or T5 while the cost premium for LED is minimal. The new era of LED highbay technology is upon us! LED highbays are now cost competitive, readily available, and with the advantage of technology are smaller, lighter and last longer than ever before. Also, due to their high energy-efficiency and long lifespan, they cost less to maintain as they use less energy and require less frequent replacement. When you are choosing between LED and traditional highbays, think of more than just the initial cost; the total cost of LED ownership is significantly lower and is unfortunately often overlooked.

The Evolution of Highbay Lighting

Your Source for Highbay LED Technology

Albrite Lighting is your source for this new LED technology; we stock a number of different LED highbays to help you with all your new or retrofit applications. We have a dedicated lighting division that can assist you in choosing the best products, and help you with design layouts to ensure you are exceeding lighting requirements. As an industry leader in LED products, Albrite Lighting is your one stop shop for all things LED!

Trying to choose your LED Highbay product? Check out Philips’ FBX Highbay