Commercial lighting – the basics explained

Every designer and electrician whose work brings them into contact with commercial lighting will be well aware of the vast range of suitable fittings and equipment available to them. They will also be conscious of the importance of choosing the right commercial lighting fittings for the project in hand. Similarly proprietors of businesses commissioning such work will have their own quite clear ideas as to what they need and expect from their new commercial lighting.

Lighting contractors will naturally have kept up to date with the exciting developments seen in recent times in lighting systems. Their customers may not however so it may be helpful to highlight some of the benefits they bring to users of commercial lighting.

Better lighting, better economy

Low energy lighting has been with us for some time now with its benefits of lower consumption of electricity and longer bulb life leading to improved economy in use. These benefits were achieved by the use of compact fluorescent bulbs but they were frequently criticised for being bulky, unattractive and producing light of lower intensity than expected. These lights still suit many situations but awareness of the other options that have become available more recently is essential if the right decisions are to be made.

With the advent of energy-saving halogen bulbs, metal halide lights and LED systems, light of greater brightness and intensity than was ever available from traditional incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes comes with dramatically improved economy. Every business needs to keep costs to a minimum and energy bills can account for a considerable proportion of overall operating costs. The high energy efficiency of these new forms of commercial lighting can bring about a significant improvement in the bottom line.


To show you exactly what we mean we have selected lighting examples from four broad categories of commercial lighting (retail display, high bay lighting, low bay lighting and including flush fittings) that suit all locations. We recommend suitable fittings for each situation.

Retail Display

The lighting here needs to clearly illuminate all areas of the sales area to enable customers to see everything clearly, move around safely and to deter thieves. The goods on display should be highlighted so that they are shown off to best advantage.

Metal halide lighting is perfect for this. Its bulb produces up to 115 lumens per Watt of electricity consumed compared to 35 for a traditional incandescent bulb. It lasts 20 times as long too, so economy comes as standard. These lights can light up a very large area or they can provide high intensity light on a small area.

A fine example is the Zeta Metal Halide Display Light from Robus in cast aluminium. You get a lovely crisp white light which really brings the display to life and showcases the products to best advantage.

Also ideal for situations such as shops are flush fitting. Flush mounted on either ceilings or walls they will illuminate large areas. These lamps use low energy bulbs for economy. For ultimate economy, LED versions are available.

High Bay Lighting

Here we are looking at lighting installed at heights of 20 feet (6 metres) or more above floor level, which may be in a warehouse, a sports hall, or maybe a large restaurant, even a pub or large retail sales area.

Recommended light fittings for these installations would include the Luteco Eris Light as discussed under Retail Display. These high efficiency lights with their excellent economy are equally at home in High Bay situations where they are extremely effective.

Also extremely versatile and particularly suited to high bay installations are Ivela High Bay Lights – Translucent /Black. These are IP44 rated so they can be used where dry conditions cannot be guaranteed. Using them with energy saving screw fitting Halogen GLS Bulbs, brings all the benefits of superb light output coupled with outstanding operational economy that halogen lighting provides.

Low Bay Lighting

LowBayis required in situations where the lights are to be installed 3 to 7 metres or about 10 to 23 feet above floor level. Dextra’s Low Bay Lights – Metal Halide 250W are designed for just this purpose.  These lights provide all the benefits of the latest metal halide technology as highlighted in the high bay lighting section plus a hinged gear tray which makes them quick and simple to both install and later maintain. The time thus saved represents a further saving in overall cost. Their robust construction makes them ideal for commercial lighting purposes particularly in factories, hangars, warehouses and loading bays.

Flush fittings like the Carina Flush Fitting LED White provide an excellent alternative in a low bay situation. The more limited the headroom available the greater the benefit of using flush fittings. We take a look at flush fitting lights next.

Flush Fitting Lights

Flush fitting lights are the maids-of-all-work of commercial lighting. We have two examples which show you just how versatile these lights are. Carina Flush Fitting LED White is the LED version of the Carina flush fitting mentioned under retail display. It provides all the advantages of flush fitting in that it protrudes very little from the surface it’s mounted on and can be wall mounted or ceiling. It is IP65 Rated which makes it ideal for hotel bathrooms, shower- cubicles and pub toilets or outdoors exposed to the elements.

On top of all that it is an LED light. LEDs produce beautiful white light, with the lowest of all energy consumption and the LED arrays outlast every other type of light source except the sun! Installing LED lighting is one of the few things a business can do which reduces costs whilst actually enhancing quality.

The other example is actually another version of the same light. The Carina LED Flush with Microwave Sensor – White. Here you get all the benefits already described plus the microwave sensor.  The light can be mounted outdoors to light up walkways, steps or other areas either for safety or convenience. It can also be a security light.

Its microwave sensor detects movement and turns the light on only when needed. It can be adjusted to become active only when the ambient light falls below a pre-set level and its sensitivity can be varied between 1 and 10 metres so that it only detects movement in the relevant area. The time the light remains on when activated can be pre-set to between 10 seconds up to 30 minutes.

Indoors these are the ideal lights for rooms or passageways that are not in constant use. As someone enters the area the lights obligingly turn on. One extremely useful benefit of the microwave sensor when compared to the PIR type of movement detector is that the microwave sensor can see through doors! One advantage that gives is that when someone approaches a closed room the sensor inside the room detects their arrival outside the door and turns on the light ready for when they enter the room.

All LED lights cost very little to run. These only come on when needed and remain turned off and costing nothing the rest of the time.

Update to save

It’s not only new business premises or those undergoing extensive refurbishments that can benefit from these developments in commercial lighting. All businesses need to be alert to changes that can reduce trading costs and in many cases the cost of updating their lighting installations could be repaid many times over in the long term by the savings in running expenses.

Take a look at our full range of Commercial Lighting

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