Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 21

Thread: Lighting Guidelines for New Workshop?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    TX Hill Country
    Posts
    577

    Lighting Guidelines for New Workshop?

    The contractor will be building a 30' x 31' workshop, finished on the outside but with a bare interior. I'm currently planning on using 6" recessed cans with LED retro-fit units. What are the guidelines for lighting? The shop will have 1 car garage door (normally closed) and two 3'x6' windows pn the street wall (HOA requirement) so it will be relatively dark. How many lumens should I need? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Cupertino, California
    Posts
    362
    Gilbert,

    Jack Lindsey wrote a great lighting article for SawmillCreek. Here is a link to it. This is a great place to start to understand your requirements.

    Calculating exact lighting from a given fixture is quite complicated. Many companies provide photometric data on their fixtures that will give you information on the intensity at given distances and beam spread patterns. There may have available IES data files that can be fed into a lighting calculator that will let you configure number of fixtures and spacing for your given space and desired brightness. Start by checking the if the fixture company provides general data on brightness and beam spread at given distances. I know Juno lighting use to have that data in their catalogs.

    I have had some some luck using the lighting calculator available on the lightolier or cooper lighting web sites. I find a fixture that is representative of the one I want to use, and make minor modifications in the calculator, to get a rough estimate. You can spend a lot of time playing with the calculator and still not have it turn out exactly right.

    I am not sure recessed cans are the most economical or ideal lighting for a workshop. A fair number of fixtures will be needed to provide uniform lighting, and I also do not like the downcast lighting effect.

  3. #3
    David Wong is right on target with his comments on recessed downlights for your shop. I suggest, as David did, that you read my article on shop lighting. Then I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    TX Hill Country
    Posts
    577
    I just printed out the article and I'll study it. Thanks

    Gilbert

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    6,656
    My recommendation is to forget the cans, and go T5 or T8. Lighting in a shop is one of those things where more is better.

  6. #6
    Lumens? No idea. I just like it bright where I am working, and no longer light up the whole place when I don't need to. I would rather use my shop dollars in other ways. In my last shop where I was for 14 years, the wall switch at the door turned on 16 fluorescent lights and the whole place was very bright, and my electric bills was higher than they needed to be. Also, all those light fixtures require way too much maintenance! When I was working in one corner, it seemed a shame to have the whole place brightly lit. In the new shop, now the switch at the door turns on four of those 28w curley bulbs in reflectors mounted around the shop - just enough to provide decent illumination all over. However, in the area where I am working I have lots of lights that make it nice and bright so there is no eye strain at all.

    Each of my work areas have several lights wired into one on/off switch, so you really don't have to turn on and off many switches. One switch make the area nice and bright.

    I also found that the fluorescent bulbs that are tinted like daylight are really nice over the workbenches. Really bright and easy on the eyes.

    Didn't have many photos of the shop ceiling, but this one shows one of the ceiling can lights, and a couple of the work areas brightly lit up.

    Bottom line – do it your way to suit yourself…
    Attached Images Attached Images
    • File Type: jpg 1.jpg (89.0 KB, 79 views)

  7. #7
    Gilbert - I responded to your questions via private message since that is how you posted them. We can continue that way if you prefer, or we can post them in this thread on the forum. That way it may help others with similar questions.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    TX Hill Country
    Posts
    577
    We can continue on the forum.
    My question to Jack:
    The shop will be 30' x 31'. I calculated I will need 20 of 4 ft. T5 HO bulbs rated at 5000 lumens which will provide around 107 lumens/sq ft. I would like to have the enclosed and was looking a a 4 bulb unit due to pricing. Would I be better of using 2-bulb unit to spread the light better? I have T8 strip units mounted to a white ceiling in my shop now and do not like the dust buildup on the lights. I would prefer to recess any lights I install. How much will that affect the light output? Thanks

    Jack's response:
    Four lamp fixtures will definitely be spaced too far apart, and that may also be the case for 2 lamp fixtures unless you have a high ceiling. What is the ceiling height?


    Jack, the ceiling will be 9' high. I came to the same conclusion that the 4 lamp fixtures would not work and thought the 2 lamp would be better. Would 1 lamp fixture make more sense?
    Last edited by Gilbert Vega; 03-31-2014 at 2:40 AM.

  9. #9
    I did a similar calculation for a larger 2 bay garage space, with the goal of getting to 75 lumens at workshop table height with a ceiling height of 8'. I ended up with 6 rows of 4' two-lamp fixtures mounted between ceiling joists. Doing the math, I ended up with a total of 48 bulbs. Not sure how you're getting to higher brightness with less than half the bulbs.

    W.R.T. four bulb fixtures:

    1) They don't fit in between joists, so you lose ceiling height. I get some measure of protection for the fixtures by recessing them by the fixture height between the joists.
    2) With the four bulb fixtures, the light isn't distributed as equal. In short, you'll get hot spots. Not sure the extra foot is sufficient.
    3) I know I'm going to take out a fixture now and then when swinging larger boards around. I'd rather fix the cheaper one, than the four bulb one. The incremental cost (per bulb) is not that great to go to 2 bulb fixtures.

    Andy

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Gilbert Vega View Post
    We can continue on the forum.
    My question to Jack:
    The shop will be 30' x 31'. I calculated I will need 20 of 4 ft. T5 HO bulbs rated at 5000 lumens which will provide around 107 lumens/sq ft. I would like to have the enclosed and was looking a a 4 bulb unit due to pricing. Would I be better of using 2-bulb unit to spread the light better? I have T8 strip units mounted to a white ceiling in my shop now and do not like the dust buildup on the lights. I would prefer to recess any lights I install. How much will that affect the light output? Thanks

    Jack's response:
    Four lamp fixtures will definitely be spaced too far apart, and that may also be the case for 2 lamp fixtures unless you have a high ceiling. What is the ceiling height?


    Jack, the ceiling will be 9' high. I came to the same conclusion that the 4 lamp fixtures would not work and thought the 2 lamp would be better. Would 1 lamp fixture make more sense?
    Gilbert - I don't recommend T5 HO's for a 9' ceiling. Those lamps are very bright and I expect that most people would find them objectionable in terms of direct glare, as discussed in my article. Also, you would need about 38 lamps, not 20, to compensate for the light loss factors, also discussed in the article. With regard to using enclosed fixtures, you would need to use gasketed, sealed fixtures to avoid dust inside the fixture. Please read the section where I discuss open vs enclosed fixtures for a detailed explanation. I think you would get better performance using 2 lamp T-8 strips.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    TX Hill Country
    Posts
    577
    Thanks Jack. Is that 38 bulbs not 38 2 lamp fixtures?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Gilbert Vega View Post
    Thanks Jack. Is that 38 bulbs not 38 2 lamp fixtures?
    That's lamps, Gilbert. But once again, I don't recommend T5HO's on a 9' ceiling. T8's are a better choice. You would need 32 two lamp fixtures for that option.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Pleasanton, CA
    Posts
    142
    I like the idea of the LED cans, perhaps in conjunction with T5s. A couple other things to consider (as if you don't have enough choices) is to have different color temperatures and dimmers on the LEDs for checking out finishes.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    No. Virginia and Fulton, Mississippi
    Posts
    207
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Lindsey View Post
    Gilbert - I don't recommend T5 HO's for a 9' ceiling. <snip>
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Lindsey View Post
    That's lamps, Gilbert. But once again, I don't recommend T5HO's on a 9' ceiling. T8's are a better choice. You would need 32 two lamp fixtures for that option.
    Once again - for all other readers
    Be careful of an investment in T5's.

    I've got to replace about 50 T12 fixtures with ceiling heights ranging from 14' to 9' so I'm looking at a variety of options.

    I bought a 2 bulb HO T5 strip at HD w/ the default HO bulbs (separate) they had there. At a 4' distance from the work surface they are far too bright for me, 850 lux. A better thing would be to raise the ceiling to 12'

    My T8's give me about 450 lux at 4' (measured with the LUX app on my Samsung Note)

    On another note - has anyone investigated wireless switching? I'm thinking something like X10 where I could turn lights on and off from my tablet instead of getting real fancy in wiring circuits so I can switch a certain bank on.
    Setting up a workshop, from standing tree to bookshelves

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    15,333
    Pile on the T8s and paint your ceiling and walls a very boring white. I've only had 2 T8s die on me in 6 years. Not bad...not bad at all and I have 28 in my 20x20 garage.
    Wood: a fickle medium....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •