What the heck is a foot candle?!

What the heck is a foot candle?!

Yeah, yeah, yeah... we already know you've probably never considered this before. Well, if you've actually ever spent any brain power wondering what this term is, we’re about to drop some straight facts for you in the simplest language possible:

No, this is not what we're talking about...

It has nothing to do with actual candles, nor does it have anything to do with your feet, so now we've got that off the table.

Is is actually a lighting term that refers to a unit of measurement of light intensity on a given area. Put simply, it is used to measure the "quantity" of light that hits a surface from a light source, not the amount of light coming from the light source itself. 1 foot candle is equal to 1 lumen per square foot. 

"How is knowing this going to improve my life in any way??" - your thoughts right now.

Well, if you're a business owner, property manager, employee, or basically anyone that has a job, it is good to know this because knowing the amount of light required in your workspace is pretty critical to your operation and your ability to do your job well.

There are general rules of thumb for the amount of foot candles required in particular workspace in your building. Areas with higher precision task work would require a higher amount of foot candles, as they would need more light intensity to be able to carry out the tasks effectively.

General office spaces would require no more than 20-25 foot candles. 

General retail stores and showrooms would require between 40-50 foot candles to showcase their products most effectively and in the best light.

General warehouses with lots of activity would require anywhere between 30-50 foot candles, depending on the size of the products being handled in the areas (smaller products and labels require more foot candles). Any storage areas without heavy foot traffic would only require between 5-10 foot candles.

When it comes to manufacturing facilities, there is a much broader range of foot candles that would be most suitable depending on the operation type (anywhere between 30-100 foot candles).

30-50 foot candles would be sufficient in a facility that manufactures large items. On the other hand, 60+ foot candles would be applicable to a facility that manufactures smaller and higher-precision products, up to a maximum of 100 foot candles.

"How do I calculate foot candles in my facility??" 

You can use a light meter in your facility to measure the amount of foot candles you are currently getting from your lights. This information will come in handy if you are planning to convert your existing lights to LED fixtures.