Roof lights are the most common way of allowing natural light into a warehouse, but they can also determine the type and amount of light entering the building; depending on the age, design and number of roof lights in place. External factors such as time of year and geographic location of the warehouse also have an impact.
Direct light vs. diffused light
Direct light is the light that passes through a roof light without any disruption or interference. This means when light enters the warehouse, it does so in a straight beam and the light is focused strongly in one area without spreading much to the surrounding areas. Direct light can be beneficial in certain work environments where it’s necessary to have a concentration of light in one area to help with detailed work, but generally it’s not necessary for warehouses or other industrial environments. Direct light will also result in shadows and glare on sunnier days, which can cause problems.
Diffused light however, is where the light passes through the roof light and is scattered or diffused, resulting in a more even distribution of light. Most industrial sized facilities such as warehouses prefer diffused light because it provides ambient lighting over a large area with minimal shadows and reduced glaring.
Glare may seem like a relatively minor issue but it can be detrimental and disruptive to workers. The government specifically mention glare within their health and safety executive relating to lighting at work, stating:
“Glare occurs when one part of the visual field is much brighter than the average brightness to which the visual system is adapted. When there is direct interference with vision the condition is known as disability glare. Where vision is not directly impaired but there is discomfort, annoyance, irritability or distraction the condition is called discomfort glare. The latter is related to symptoms of visual fatigue. Both types of glare can arise from the same source.”
Disability glare can be quite dangerous. For example, for forklift truck drivers, disability glare could be extremely hazardous and could result in serious workplace injury.
Discomfort glare in work areas such as warehouse offices or workspaces on mezzanine floors whilst not necessarily dangerous, can come with its own set of problems. Eye strain and headaches can occur over time amongst employees which can lead to poor concentration and inefficient working.
Achieving light diffusion and reducing glare
If your current roof lights aren’t diffusing light effectively there is a simple, cost effective, retrofit solution that maintains natural light, whilst simultaneously reducing glare through light diffusion.
Westgate’s Easipanel is designed for factories and warehouses where there is a requirement to reduce glare from entering through roof lights, but there is a need to maintain natural light.
For existing roof lights that are delivering direct light, Easipanel is a cost-effective solution to add a layer of glare reduction by creating diffused light. Using this solution, up to 50% of natural light can be retained (depending on the specific environment).
25mm multiwall polycarbonate sheets are custom designed and installed to suit your buildings bespoke roof light configuration and will maintain more natural light than painting panels. The installation methods and components used with Easipanel ensure there is no damage done to the existing roof or roof lights and the panels can also be removed without lasting damage making them ideal for use in rented spaces.
To learn more about how Easipanel can can reduce glare in your warehouse, contact us at Westgate.