We’ve been working on in-depth guides for our lines of commercial LED lighting. Starting with our linear and UFO high bays, we’ve advised how many fixtures you would need for your space. But how do we get the results we get? The internet is a vast pool of resources, and we’ve dipped our toes into the following layout tools to help you find the right amount of lights to use:
Visual-3D.com [User Level: EASY]
This is a free interior tool provided by AcuityBrands is a quick and simple way to generate rough estimates. Simply input the room dimensions, required illuminance, and any special room parameters like room reflectances and light obstacles. Select a luminaire with your desired specifications to see how many units it would take to light up the simulated space. The calculation results will also tell you the foot candles generated, power density, and suggested LED light spacing.
Other provided tools like the area tool, the floodlight tool, and the roadway tool work similarly. You can also download a free trial for 30 days to sample the advanced tools on the desktop software.
Sylvania [User Level: EASY]
Under Sylvania’s Tools and Resources page is a selection of indoor and outdoor tools for many kinds of commercial LED fixtures. Select the luminaire you want to install, and a new window will pop up. Like Visual-3D, you can easily enter room dimensions, reflectances, desired foot candles, and other parameters to simulate results. Sylvania’s user interface which uses a dropdown menu as opposed to Visual-3D's open layout.
DIALux evo [User Level: INTERMEDIATE-ADVANCED]
DIALux is THE program for professional lighting design, giving you the ability to create entire buildings and outdoor areas. You get complete control over luminaire placement and render anything from rooms, to floors, to buildings. Best of all, it is a free software making it a great choice for those getting into lighting design. For our purposes though, it's fairly easy to mock up a simple warehouse and add LED lighting to simulate results.
It’s worth noting that DIALux and this next software will only get you 20% real-world accuracy if you do not have good reflectance data and numerical values.
AGi32 [User Level: ADVANCED]
If you need a more realistic preview of your desired illuminance, look to AGi32. This software is capable of not only drafting rooms but also rendering 3D models. You can easily predict the best placements and aiming of luminaires by repositioning them in your simulation.
Unlike the EASY layout tools listed above, AGi32 gives you complete control over many elements which may complicate the process if you’re not a lighting designer. However, it will give you photo-realistic models that will show you how light will interact with objects in a given room.
AGi32 is available as a 30-day free trial before purchasing a subscription.
Do you have other layout tools you use? Let us know in the comments below; we’d love to learn what you use! Now that you know how you can determine the number of fixtures to buy, check back next week to learn how high and far apart to set your commercial LED lights.