While any type of kitchen has certain lighting needs, an industrial or commercial kitchen has unique needs. An industrial kitchen is usually used for catering businesses and large scale events so the lighting needs to be a help, not a hindrance. When it comes to choosing the right options for industrial kitchen lighting, here are a few tips to set you on the right track.
Measure the space. When selecting lighting, the most important factor will be lumen output since this determines the amount of illumination in any given space. The guidelines in general are that you want an average of 50 lumens per square foot. You will need to measure the space of the kitchen and calculate out the appropriate lumen count suggested.
Consider vapor tight fixtures or wet listed fixtures. For industrial kitchen lighting, many people forget that the conditions play a role in determining the best solution. This area needs to account for steam and vapors that cause condensation which can have a negative impact on lighting fixtures. The best option is to choose vapor-tight options because they are well-gasketed to keep water from reaching the inner workings of the lamp.
Invest in shatterproof lighting over cooking areas. While the lighting over the dishwashing station or the oven may not be as crucial, the lighting over any area where open food is placed needs to be better protected. Areas such as the stove tops and food prep areas would benefit from shatterproof fixtures to avoid any glass shattering and becoming a major health concern.
Combine overhead lighting with task lighting for the best results. Too many times, industrial kitchen lighting is implemented with just one type of fixture such as recessed overhead lighting. While this provides adequate lighting for the overall space, there is more to the scenario than just general lighting needs. Installing smaller fixtures that are more concentrated on specific areas will improve visibility. Consider suspended lights that are small enough to not get in the way during important tasks and still bright enough to provide a more focused light.
Know your codes. Every state has codes in place that regulate any lighting that is not suitable for a commercial kitchen setting. Knowing the codes before you choose your lighting will eliminate any problems later on during inspections.
Brighter lighting is the better option for this location. While dining areas can be more dimly lit to provide ambiance, the kitchen is all about visibility. Choose a lighting solution that gives higher lumen outputs per watts for the best visibility.
Choose LED or fluorescents over HID options. LEDs will keep your kitchen from having extra heat output from the light sources. While fluorescents create more heat than a LED, they are still one of the lower heat emitting lighting options.
- Install timers, not dimmers. While most commercial locations would benefit from dimming capabilities, whether as part of the fixture or an installed dimmer, restaurant kitchens have a different set of needs. While the level of lighting output will never vary in a commercial kitchen, the hours that light is needed will change. Installing timers set to go off at the end of the night will ensure you won’t end up lighting an area when it is unoccupied.
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