To Relamp or Not to Relamp… That is the Question for Many Calgary Industrial Real Estate Users

Jul 26, 2011 by

Have been going through a bit of a dilema recently on a building we are involved in as it relates to changing the internal warehouse lighting system.  Our current tenant will be leaving us in the fall and we are currently marketing the property for lease or sale.  Unfortunatetly the lease that we inherited when we bought the building had a tenant that was less than motivated to maintain the building and a lease that had very little in the way of teeth to enforce a requirement.  What we are being left with is a building that has less than 20 foot candles of lighting at eye level.   As a leasing guy we always want bright.  But how bright? Over the years I have seen many buildings change dramatically when new lighting is intalled.  I know we have to do something but wasn’t sure where to start.  So I started to do some research.  I came across this article which started to help understand the required lighting levels in a warehouse area.  I started to see foot candles and lumens being mentioned and needed to understand the difference as most users talk about foot candles while the federal occupational health guidline references lumens or lx.  Attached is the link to Section 6.5 of the Canada Occupation Health and Safety Regulations (SOR/86-304) along with the relevant Schedule that outlines minimum required lighting levels.  Here is the unit conversion calculator.       According to what I see in the regulations for a standard warehouse use we need between 150 lumens (13.935456 foot candles) for applications not requiring alot of reading labels or detailed work to 500 lumens (46.45152 foot candles) in applications that require reading of fine print labels and other similar uses.  Then we started to enquire about what product to use.  Historically the standard was metal halide and before that it was sodium vapor and before that flourescent.  Today it is a version of flourescent which is called “T5” or “T8”.  Here is a good article that summarizes the difference between metal halide and T5.  On the horizon is LED.  Where do we start?

So far here is where I am at on the process that we are taking to review this question.

  1. Understand the application.  How many foot candles or lumens do you want?  Brighter is always better.
  2. Determine your budget.
  3. Determine how important long term energy savings are.
  4. Get two or three quotes from reputable electrical contractors on refixturing your facility.  Make sure you specify which two or 3 options you want priced, (T5, Metal Halide and T8) and to what lumens or foot candles at what level (eye level or work bench level).

I will keep you posted on our outcome.  Please email me if you have any questions or comments or need the name of a few good electricians that service the Calgary industrial real estate market.