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IES Recommended Lighting Levels

Foot Candle Recommendations

The following selected foot-candle ranges represent the Illuminating Engineering Society’s (IES) current illuminance recommendations. Individual applications will determine exact foot-candle levels. Please refer to the IES Lighting Handbook for a more detailed evaluation or contact us now.

Illuminating Engineer Society Logo



Foot Candles


Airplane Manufacturing Drilling, riveting, screw fastening 75 High Bay
Airplane Manufacturing Final assembly, hangar 100 High Bay
Airplane Manufacturing Inspection 50-200 High Bay
Airplane Manufacturing Welding 50 High Bay
Assembly Rough easy seeing 20-50 High Bay
Assembly Rough difficult seeing 50-100 High Bay
Assembly Medium 100-200 High Bay
Auditoriums Social Activities 5-10 Flat Panel / Troffer
Auditoriums Assembly Only 10-20 Flat Panel / Troffer
Auditoriums Exhibitions 15-25 Flat Panel / Troffer
Automotive Manufacturing Frame Assembly 50 High Bay
Automotive Manufacturing Body & chassis assembly 100 High Bay
Automotive Manufacturing Body parts assembly 100 High Bay
Automotive Manufacturing Final Assembly, finishing, inspecting 200 High Bay
Banks Lobby General 10-50 Flat Panel / Troffer
Banks Writing Areas 20-70 Flat Panel / Troffer
Banks Teller Stations, Posting & Keypunch 50-150

Flat Panel / Troffer

Barber Shop Beauty Parlors 50-100 Flat Panel
Chemical Works Chemical Works 30 Vapor Tight / Hazardous
Clothing Manufacturer Receiving, storing, shipping, winding, measuring 20-50 Flat Panel / Troffer
Clothing Manufacturer Pattern making, trimming 50-100 Flat Panel / Troffer
Clothing Manufacturer Shops, Marking 50-200 Flat Panel / Troffer / High Bay
Clothing Manufacturer Cutting, Pressing 100-500 Flat Panel / Troffer / High Bay
Clothing Manufacturer Sewing, Inspection 200-500 Flat Panel / Troffer / High Bay
Electrical Equipment Manufacturing Impregnating 20-50 High Bay
Electrical Equipment Manufacturing Insulating coil winding, testing 50-100 High Bay
Food Service Facility Dining areas, cashier 20-50 Troffer / Recessed
Food Service Facility Cleaning 10-20 Recessed
Food Service Facility Dining 5-20 Troffer / Recessed
Food Service Facility Food Displays 30-100 Recessed
Food Service Facility Kitchen 50-100 IP65 High Bay
Foundries Annealing Furnaces 20-50 High Bay
Foundries Cleaning 20-50 High Bay
Foundries Core Making 50-200 High Bay
Foundries Inspection Fine 100-200 High Bay
Foundries Inspection Medium 50-100 High Bay
Foundries Molding 50-200 High Bay
Foundries Pouring, Sorting 50-100 High Bay / Hazardous
Garages-Motor Vehicles Storage 5 Garage
Garages-Motor Vehicles Parking Garage 10 Garage /.Strip
Garages-Motor Vehicles Service Garage 10-20 Garage 
Garages-Motor Vehicles Entrances 50 High Bay
Garages-Motor Vehicles Repair Area 50-100 High Bay
Gymnasiums Assemblies 10 Flat Panel / High Bay
Gymnasiums General Exercise & Recreation 30 Flat Panel / High Bay
Gymnasiums Exhibitions, Matches 50 Flat Panel / High Bay
Hospitals Rooms 10-30 Troffer / Flat Panel
Hospitals Corridors 5-30 Troffer / Flat Panel
Hospitals Emergency Rooms 50-100 NA
Hospitals Operating Rooms 100-200 NA
Hotels Bathrooms 20-50 Recessed
Hotels Bedrooms for Reading 10-20 NA
Hotels Corridors, elevators and stairs 10-20 Recessed
Hotels Front Desk 50-100 Recessed
Hotels Linen Room: Sewing 100-200 High Bay
Hotels Linen Room: General 10-20 High Bay
Hotels Lobby: General Lighting 10-20 Recessed
Hotels Lobby: Reading and working areas 20-50 Recessed / Flat Panel
Iron & Steel Manufacturing Stock, hot top, checker, cellar, calcining 10-30 UFO / Hazardous / Flood
Iron & Steel Manufacturing Building, slag pits, Stripping yard 20 UFO / Hazardous / Flood
Iron & Steel Manufacturing Control platform, repairs, mixer building 30 UFO / Hazardous / Flood
Iron & Steel Manufacturing Rolling mills 30-50 UFO / Hazardous / Flood
Iron & Steel Manufacturing Shearing 50 UFO / Hazardous / Flood
Iron & Steel Manufacturing Tin Plate 50 UFO / Hazardous / Flood
Iron & Steel Manufacturing Motor Room, Machine Room 30 UFO / Hazardous / Flood
Iron & Steel Manufacturing Inspection 100 UFO / Hazardous / Flood
Library Ordinary Reading, Stacks 20-50 Troffer / Flat Panel
Library Book Repair and Binding 20-50 Troffer / Flat Panel
Library Study & Notes, Cataloging 20-100 Troffer / Flat Panel
Library Card Files, Check Desk 20-100 Troffer / Flat Panel
Laundries Washing 20-50 High Bay
Laundries Ironing 20-100 High Bay
Machine Shops Rough Bench 20-50 High Bay
Machine Shops Medium Bench, Rough Grinding, Buffing 50-100 High Bay
Machine Shops Fine Bench and Work 200-500 High Bay
Materials Handling Loading Trucking 10-20

High Bay / Temporary

Materials Handling Picking Stock Classifying 20-50 High Bay
Materials Handling Wrapping, Packing, Labeling 20-50 High Bay
Offices Accounting 50-100 Flat Panel / Troffer
Offices Audio-Visual Areas 20-50 Flat Panel / Troffer
Offices Conference Areas 20-70 Flat Panel / Troffer
Offices Corridors, Stairways 20 Flat Panel / Troffer
Offices Drafting 50-200 Flat Panel / Troffer
Offices General and Private Offices 50-100 Flat Panel / Troffer
Offices Lobbies, Lounges, & Reception Areas 5-20 Flat Panel / Troffer
Offices Mail Sorting 50-100 Flat Panel / Troffer
Offices Off-set printing & duplicating areas 20-50 Flat Panel / Troffer / High Bay
Offices Spaces with VDT's 75 Flat Panel / Troffer
Paint Shop Spraying, Rubbing 20-50 High Bay
Paint Shop Hand Art, Stencil 20-50 High Bay
Paint Shop Fine Hand Painting & Finishing 50-100 High Bay
Paper Manufacturing Beaters, Grinding 20-50 UFO
Paper Manufacturing Finishing, Cutting 50-100 UFO
Paper Manufacturing Hand Counting 50-100 UFO
Paper Manufacturing Paper machine reel, Inspection 100-200 UFO
Paper Manufacturing Rewinder 100-200 UFO
Printing Welding 50 High Bay / Flood
Printing Color Inspecting 100-200 High Bay / Flood
Printing Presses 50-100 High Bay / Flood
Printing Proofreading 100-200 High Bay / Flood
Printing Composing Room 50-100 High Bay / Flood
Schools Reading 20-100 Flat Panel / Troffer
Schools Typing 20-100 Flat Panel / Troffer
Schools Demonstrations 100-200 Flat Panel / Troffer
Schools Sewing 20-100 Flat Panel / Troffer
Sheet Metal Works General 100 High Bay / Flood
Sheet Metal Works Tin Plate Inspection 100-200 High Bay / Flood
Sheet Metal Works Galvanizing, Scribing 100-200 High Bay / Flood
Stores Circulation Area Stockroom 10-30 Recessed
Stores Merchandising, Servicing 30-100 Recessed / Troffer
Stores Merchandising, Self-Servicing 200 Recessed / Troffer
Textile Mills Cotton Picking, Carding, Roving, Spinning 50 High Bay
Textile Mills Beaming & Slashing 150 High Bay
Textile Mills Drawing 200 High Bay
Textile Mills Others 100 High Bay
Warehouse & Storage Inactive 5-10 High Bay
Warehouse & Storage Active Rough Bulky 10-20 High Bay
Warehouse & Storage Active Medium 20 High Bay
Warehouse & Storage Active Fine 20-50 High Bay
Welding General 20-50 High Bay / Flood
Woodworking Sizing, planning, rough sanding, medium quality machine and bench work, gluing, veneering, cooperage 20-50 High Bay / Strip
Woodworking Fine bench and machine work, fine sanding and finishing 50-100 High Bay / Strip
Woodworking Rough sawing and bench work 20-50 High Bay / Strip

What is the Illuminating Engineering Society?

The IES is a community of lighting professionals with a mission to improve life through quality of light. Established in 1906, the Illuminating Engineering Society is the recognized technical and educational authority on illumination in nearly 60 countries. Through their American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited process, they publish and maintain the Lighting Library®, with over 100 standards written by subject matter experts in their technical committees.  Today, the organization has over 8,000 members worldwide, including lighting designers, engineers, architects, educators, and researchers. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the IES and its impact on the lighting industry.

The IES is a non-profit organization that aims to promote the art and science of lighting. The organization is dedicated to advancing the knowledge of lighting and providing its members with the resources they need to design, build, and install lighting systems. The IES is also responsible for developing lighting standards, guidelines, and recommended practices. These documents are used by lighting professionals to ensure that their work meets the highest standards of quality and safety.


What does the IES Do?

The IES provides a wide range of resources and services to its members. One of the most important resources is its library of lighting-related documents. This library includes standards, recommended practices, and design guides, as well as research papers and technical reports. These documents are essential for anyone working in the lighting industry, as they provide guidance on everything from the design of lighting systems to the testing of lighting products.

The IES also offers a variety of educational programs and events. These programs include webinars, seminars, and conferences, which provide members with the opportunity to learn about the latest developments in lighting technology and design. The IES also offers certification programs for lighting professionals. These programs are designed to ensure that professionals have the knowledge and skills they need to design and install high-quality lighting systems.


The IES Mission

One of the key missions of the IES is to promote the development of energy-efficient and sustainable lighting solutions. This is achieved through the creation of standards, guidelines, and recommendations that help designers and engineers create lighting systems that are both effective and environmentally friendly.

One of the most important contributions of the IES to the field of lighting design is the publication of the Illuminating Engineering Society Handbook. This comprehensive resource is considered the definitive guide to lighting design and is used by professionals around the world. The Handbook covers topics such as lighting terminology, lighting design principles, lighting calculations, and lighting system maintenance.

In addition to the Handbook, the IES also publishes a number of other resources designed to help professionals stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in the field of lighting design. These resources include the IES Lighting Library, which contains a wealth of information on lighting science, technology, and design, and the IES Standards Library, which includes the latest industry standards and guidelines.

 IES Lighting Specification for Sports Fields

IES Sports Venues Reccomendation Chart for Beam Class

IES RP-6-15 covers recommended lighting practices for recreational to professional sports fields and venues with specific guidelines for individual sports.