June 02, 13
High Bay Lighting – High-Intensity Discharge Versus Fluorescent Lighting
- High Bay Lighting – High-Intensity Discharge Versus Fluorescent Lighting
What Is High Bay Lighting?
High bay lightning is the type of lighting that is used in buildings with very high ceilings. If the ceiling height is in excess of 15 or 20 feet, high bay lighting would be used. Places like large retail stores, factories, warehouses, and athletic facilities are places where you would typically find high bay lighting.
HID vs HIF for High Bay Lighting
One common option for high bay lighting is a type of lamp called HID lamps. HID stands for high intensity discharge and these types of lamps produce light by creating an electrical arc between tungsten electrodes that are inside of a tube. The tube is filled with gas and metal salts. The arc between the electrodes creates heat which evaporates the metal salts and this creates a plasma that gives off very intense light.
Another very common choice is known as HIF lamps. HIF stands for high-intensity fluorescent and this type of lighting is a better choice than HID in most applications. HIFs have a longer useful life and less lumen depreciation over time. Lumen depreciation refers to the amount of light given off by a lightbulb decreasing over time. All lightbulbs will experience a decrease in light output as time goes on but HIF lamps experience a very small drop in lumen output over their useful life.
HIF lamps also provide higher luminous efficacy than HID lamps. What that means is that HIF lamps produce more light for every watt of electricity they consume than HID lamps do. Because of this, HIF lamps are more energy efficient. HIF lamps also have benefits such as better color retention, reduced glare, as well as virtually instant start up and restrike.
In the past, high intensity discharge lamps had several advantages over fluorescent lamps. Older fluorescent lighting was not able to effectively illuminate areas with ceiling heights in excess of 15 feet but the newer HIF lamps produce more intense light and can illuminate an area just as well as HID lamps. HID lamps were also able to perform better in areas that experienced a wide range of temperatures. Fluorescent lighting was not able to turn on at temperatures below 50°F. However, improvements in technology have allowed the newer fluorescent bulbs to operate in temperatures as low as 0°F.
There may be some high bay lighting applications where HID lamps still have an edge but in most applications HIF lamps are a better choice. Because the newer bulbs can work in a wider range of temperatures and they have the intensity required to illuminate areas with high ceilings they are equivalent to HID lamps in that respect and when you consider the reduction in lumen depreciation and the fact that they are more energy efficient, HIF lamps are the clear winner.