Barn Lighting - Planning Wattage & Spacing

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Forum topic by toddbeaulieu posted 04-06-2010 06:07 PM 1957 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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814 posts in 2971 days

04-06-2010 06:07 PM

I’ve read through quie a few threads this morning on this topic. I’m unclear on a couple of points.

“They” say 3W/SQ FT. I don’t know if that’s to get “great light” or just “ok light”. If just ok, I’d assume I should plan for a little more.

“They” say that the T8 lighting is brighter than older flourescents. Does that mean I can stick with 3W and be happier, or should I still plan for more?

Home Depot’s web site, just for example, has a fixture labeled as 32W, yet it also states it has (2) 32W bulbs. Isn’t that 64W? And their 32W, 4-bulb light should actually be 128W, right?

I tried using GE’s site to help plan, but it needed too many variables. How do I know how many candlefeet? I don’t think I have one of those! ;)

Currently, my 23’ x 22’ barn with a loft at about 9 feet it by 6 flourescent screw in bulbs (not sure wattage) and a couple of hanging 4’ units. I don’t have enough light. It’s much better with the hanging units on, but I’d like to remove them and the other fixtures to install a grid of fixed T8 units.

I’m hoping this is not too expensive.

So … can anyone help me figure out 2-bulb or 4-bulb, how many units, how many total watts and any insight into the candle-watt specs?

Oh, and HD’s site says nothing about the temperature of the bulbs, so I have no idea if they are 5000K as everyone’s suggesting I use.

Thank you!

5 replies so far

View tnwood's profile


258 posts in 3054 days

#1 posted 04-06-2010 08:56 PM

You can find design and calculator programs on several of the lighting manufacturers workshops. See as an example. But you need some special software I think. I just did my 30×30 ft shop with 9 four bulb T8 fixtures in a 3×3 array; that is about one every 10 feet. This gives me plenty of light and is above average I think but I’m getting to an age where my eyes need all the light they can get. I bought the Lithonia brand fixtures, SB 432 fixtures which have 4 lamps each. By the way, the T8 lamps are much less expensive than the old T12s. You can order the Lithonia’s through HD and have them delivered to your local HD I think which saves you some shipping costs. Good luck with the effort.

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3168 days

#2 posted 04-06-2010 10:45 PM

You also have to take into consideration the height of the ceilings. Above the 8’ standard, you also need to increase your wattage. If you can, opt for 8” 40 watt per tube fluorescents. At 9’, you will be pleasantly suprised by the amount ot light you well get. Shop around, HD sometimes has them on sale. Tubes are available at Sam’s Club, least ways here they are.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View toddbeaulieu's profile


814 posts in 2971 days

#3 posted 04-06-2010 10:54 PM

I’m looking into these leads. Thank you both.

What about CFL? I have 6 now. I saw one guy that used 48! I’m going to find out what I have in there now and will consider augmenting them.

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3168 days

#4 posted 04-06-2010 11:06 PM

They make CFL floods now. I have them in my kitchen. You have to make sure that they are the instant on, otherwise they take a while to get up to proper brightness. I have seen some big wattage CFL’s though.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3141 days

#5 posted 04-06-2010 11:14 PM

“I have seen some big wattage CFL’s though.”

I just ordered two Feit Lighting 65W fluorescent bulbs—the curley-Q variety. Stated equivalent is 300W incandescent!!

Can’t speak to how they work, yet. Heard they’re BIG (no problem for me. They’ll run as bare bulbs).

Not thrilled about the $18/ea, but … if they’re THAT good, I may buy four more, and have my WHOLE basement lit up by them.

My walls and floors are all bare concrete. Doesn’t reflect much light. While I’ll—eventually—paint—I still like LOTS of light.

Just found a mini-review of the beast … here.

Good luck!

-- -- Neil

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