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How to: light with (LED) floodlights

February 2019

Floodlight: a large, powerful light. Typically used to illuminate sports grounds, multi-use games areas (better known as MUGA’s) or the exterior of a building.


Floodlights are useful for a wide range of applications. From architectural grazing and feature lighting of bridges, buildings and monuments to more general-purpose large area lighting of car parks, service yards, goods yards and - industrial areas – the focus of this guide.

For many years, the primary purpose of a floodlight has been to provide a large amount of light as economically as possible. LED floodlights continue to offer this with the added benefit of big gains in energy savings. They are also a great solution for security, offering good colour rendering and visibility in high risk areas: an important consideration when lighting traffic routes in industrial sites, and for CCTV too.

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How to light an industrial area

1. Where do I start?

The design process for floodlighting industrial spaces normally consists of four stages:

  • determining the extent of the task area
  • assessing where to locate the floodlights
  • the type of light distribution required, and
  • the light source / maintenance characteristics that suit the application

2. How much light do I need?

That all depends on where you’re going to use it and what for.

For a long time - 150W metal halide was the go-to for large open areas but equating that to its LED equivalent and required lumen output isn’t entirely straight forward (while you can expect the same level of brightness from an LED floodlight as a halogen floodlight, brightness isn’t measured in Watts). Take a look at our quick LED lamp replacement guide – with some typical floodlighting applications for guidance.

   Product    Replaces    Suggested Applications    

   Sabre 1 (16 LED)

   3,000lm @ 22W (400mA)

   50W SON-T

   68% energy saving

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   Sabre 1 (16 LED)

   4,300lm @ 33W (600mA)

   70W SON-T

   61% energy saving

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   Sabre 2 (24 LED)

   8,000lm @ 62W (800mA) 

   100W SON-T

   50% energy saving

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   Sabre 2 (24 LED)

   8,000lm @ 62W (1000mA)

   150W SON-T

   41% energy saving

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   Sabre 3 (64 LED)

   24,300lm @ 198W (1000mA)

   250W SON-T

   34% energy saving

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Light level recommendations

Table 5.7 - Industrial sites and storage areas

   Ref. no. Type of area, task or activity













Specific requirements   
   5.7.1 Short-term handling of large units and raw materials, loading and unloading of solid bulk goods    20 0,25 55 20  
   5.7.2  Continuous handling of large units and raw materials, loading and unloading of freight, lifting and descending location for cranes, open loading platforms    50 0,40 50 20  
   5.7.3  Reading of addresses, covered loading platforms, use of tools, ordinary reinforcement and casting tasks in concrete plants    100 0,50 45 20  
   5.7.4  Demanding electrical, machine and piping installations, inspection    200 0,50 45 60 Use local lighting

3. How do I avoid light pollution?

" Light pollution is excessive and inappropriate artificial light "

Dark Skies Awareness an IYA2009 Cornerstone Project

When an outdoor light source is not controlled, the result is spilt light, light trespass and skyglow – all forms of light pollution. This is an important topic and, due to the high light levels in floodlighting, a key factor in a scheme’s success.

On top of the intrusion and annoyance, light pollution contributes to climate change by wasting energy, disrupting ecosystems of wildlife and the seasonal cycles of our surrounding habitat. Moreover, it is said to have a negative impact on human health by disrupting our circadian rhythm (the body’s “built-in-clock”). So how can it be avoided?

The answer: Controlling glare and achieving a 0% ULOR. Floodlights should have optics and reflectors specifically designed to direct light ONLY where it is needed and should ideally be positioned at 0° if light trespass is a concern.

4. How high should I mount and where?

There are two common issues when floodlighting outdoor industrial complexes: the multiplicity of shadows caused by the nature of the site, and the fact that the visual tasks occur on planes other than the horizontal.

Quick tip: design for an appropriate horizontal illuminance at ground level, assuming there are no obstruction losses. Information about the actual obstructions, whether temporary or permanent, will be required to resolve the mounting height and location of floodlighting positions to minimise shadows.

Columns at a height of 6-20m would appear to be the most obvious answer but look at your space and its use. Do you need general and localised lighting? Do people and vehicles both operate in the same space? Could column mounted luminaires be obstructive – if so consider wall mounting.

Quick tip: This is a real balancing act. If you are looking for uniformity then the higher the mounting height, the smaller the number of columns required. But, this is not true when considering average illuminance where the higher the columns the greater the loss of intensity (via the inverse square law), so you may need more output from the luminaire. The relationship between mounting height and the depth of the area to be lit is therefore important.

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5. What should I look for when selecting a floodlight?

  • A range of application specific optics – for design flexibility
  • Multiple mounting options: where do you want to install?
  • Control! For further energy savings does the floodlight offer additional functionality – Photocell, PIR or CMS?
  • Lifetime –  floodlights are typically installed in hard to reach or high areas so you will need a long-life, low maintenance solution. “Fit and forget” LED solutions solve this issue
  • Tilt – aim for 0°for low environmental impact
  • 0% ULOR
  • Accessories or attachments to prevent backward light spill
  • High IP and IK ratings, designed to withstand tough environments
  • 10kV surge protection for safety
  • Serviceability – is it simple to replace the driver? (if required)

What products should I use?

We recommend:

NEW Sabre – a performance range of intelligent floodlights with integral CMS. RGB available Oct-19.

Kaskara – a CoB floodlighting solution: with indirect reflectors providing low glare and zero upward light.

Katana – offering an alternative aesthetic to traditional floodlights: for projects requiring large lumen packages of up to 88,000lm.

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