I'm in the process of wiring my garage/workshop. It has a 10'
ceiling and will be painted off white.
How many lumens per sq ft should I use for lighting?
Also, what type of lighting is recommended? I'm thinking flourescent
to save on costs, but am open to any suggestions.
For general garage lighting I think 10 footcandles (fc) should ok.
Depending on the specific working task, it could be anywhere form 30 to 300
fc or more on the working surface. The IES lighting handbook has the fc
requirements for many specific tasks. Good flourescent fixtures are hard to
beat but make sure you don't have strobe effect when working with rotating
machines or tools.
For example, my woodshop (table saw, radial arm saw, drill press, etc.) has
about 100 fc with flourescent fixtures. This translates to about 3 to 4
watts/sf at 8' ceiling mounting height and off white paint.
What are you going to be doing in the garage? If you just park cars in
there, you don't need much a bare bulb in the middle should do fine, If you
want to do detailed hobby work you will need a lot more.
I learened TONS about what was needed in my shop the FIRST time I tried
working much in there.
Set up a test, do the job, add lights till your satisfiued add 25%,
since new bulbs always dim over time.
the briter the better, have 3 switches, one is I need to walkl thru
here and not trip over something
number 2 switch I need to see good enough to look for stuff
number 3 I have a detailed project:)
this way you dont waste energy, and bulb life of the briter ones is way
fluroscents are ideal buy good ones not the cheap ones.
The suggested of having switched levels of lghting is a good one, that
way you don't have light for surgery when you've just taking out the
Suggested light levels (in foot candles)
Hallways or corridors 10 general area average
Work and circulation areas 30 eneral area average
Normal office work 50 (40-60) Measured at work surface
Prolonged office work 75 (55-90) Measured at work surface
Visually difficult work 100 (80-210) Measured at work surface
A rough rule of thumb is about 2 watts fluorescent per square foot of
work area. This will yield light that is adequate for general work (40
to 60) any boost above that could be handled with task lighting or
YMMV as the specfic conditions can influence final lighting results
(ceilign height, paint color, fixture type)