The amount of light or the light environment inside a greenhouse is determined by the amount of solar radiation the sun produces atany given location. The amount, intensity and wavelength of light a plant receives per day all affect plant growth and development. Shorter and overcast days limit the amount of solar radiation in a greenhouse. This has created a growing trend in the greenhouse community, supplemental lighting.
Traditionally, supplemental lighting has been high pressure sodium or metal halide in wattages ranging from 400, 650 and 1,000 watt versions.
Supplemental lighting is an important option for greenhouses to improve the strength, growth rate and yield of plants. Increasing crop production during time periods with low levels of solar radiation with high pressure sodium or metal halides is not energy efficient nor is it the best option to grow crops for a variety of reasons.
Why color matters in Greenhouse lighting
The human eye is capable of perceiving all of the colors of the rainbow, blue, violet, indigo, green, yellow, orange and red. Plants on the use other hand mainly use light in the wavelengths of 440 to 470 blue light and 640 to 660 red light for chlorophyll absorption.
Plants do use the green light spectrum but much of it is reflected off of the plant and plants use very little of the yellow light spectrum.
GUSCO exclusively uses LmuiGrow LED’s Luminaires for all of our Greenhouse installations. LumiGrow LED’s are the cutting edge supplemental lighting source for Greenhouses, out preforming traditional high pressure sodium, metal halide, induction and other LED grow lights.
LED’s in Greenhouse Lighting reduces energy consumption
A typical 1000 watt high pressure sodium actually uses a total of 1100 watts of power when you include the ballast and a 1000 watt metal halide uses a total of 1084 watts when you include the ballast. LumiGrow’s Pro 325 LED grow light shown at the right replaces either a 1000 watt HPS or Metal Halide and uses total of 325 watts which is a 70% reduction in energy usage.
Since LED’s are a diode they are infinitely programmable. They are able to produce multiple light colors and work extremely well with lighting controls. Traditional high pressure sodium and metal halides were designed to provide visual light, that is light to be able to see at night and they don’t work with controls. LumiGrow LED fixtures produce light the instant you turn them on and can be turned off and on repeatedly without damaging the unit. HPS and Metal Halide fixtures take a considerable amount of time to warm up and cannot be turned off and on quickly without damaging or shortening the life of the ballast or lamp.
High pressure sodium lamps have been around since the 1960’s and actually provide very little usable light output based on the amount of power used. The majority of energy used is actually producing heat, not light output.
Implementing a LumiGrow grow light solution can solve several energy related problems. Larger rural greenhouses in Canada and The United States are often are using the maximum amount of electricity that their provider can provide, limiting expansion of their operations and limiting the use of supplemental lighting. In many cases greenhouses have had to install additional energy producing solutions such as diesel or natural gas generating sources to supplement their energy usage.
In most cases a LumiGrow 325 can be used for a one for one replacement of a 1,000 watt metal halide or HPS fixture. Below is a payback summary based on running 250 HID fixtures for four months with a kWh rate of .11¢ compared to 250 LumiGrow 325 watt fixtures. The results are pretty amazing, the 250, 1,000 watt high pressure sodium fixtures use a total of 275,000 watts and based on the hours of operation they consume 100,386 kWh per month for a cost of $11,042. If you look at the same 250, 325 watt LumiGrow fixtures they use a total of 81,250 watts and consume 29,660 kWh for a cost of $3,262.55 a $7,779.92 monthly savings. By implementing the LumiGrow solution it would pay for itself in just 2.4 years even though you are only using them 4 months a year!
Better Greenhouse Lighting
LumiGrow products were design around creating a fixture that produced light that was most beneficial to plants. By doing so it allowed them to manufacture an LED solution which used far less energy. LumiGrow fixtures are designed to maximize output in the red and blue portions of PAR producing almost 2 times usable plant light than traditional HPS or metal halide fixtures.
The above graph shows the benefit of the LumiGrow LED horticultural lights, light energy output. LumiGrow fixtures only produce light that is beneficial to plants.
LumiGrow LED vs Induction
GUSCO Energy is the sister company of Brint Electric Inc, a commercial and industrial electrical contractor so we are very familiar with all types of lighting. Based on our experience installing 1,000’s of lighting projects, induction lighting has a much higher failure rate than LED lighting. If you dig down deep and do some research, there are about five induction manufacturers, all of them in Asia, and mainly in China. China has had an extremely bad reputation when it comes to designing electrical components.
LumiGrow LED horticultural lighting is design and manufactured in the United States and they have an extremely low failure rate of less than an half of percent.
Another advantage LumiGrow LED horticultural lighting is that they are fully adjustable allowing you to use less light and energy. LumiGrow is the future of horticultural lighting and it is the only fixture that allows for adjustable light spectrum. The fixtures have manual adjustments to increase the amount of red, white and blue the fixtures puts out. This feature will allow you to manipulate the different aspects of plant growth.
Additionally, LumiGrow fixtures have a lighting controls option called Smart PAR. The Smart PAR feature is a wireless technology that allows for full adjustment and control of your fixtures weather it turning them on and off, increasing or decreasing a color or working in conjunction with another Greenhouse system.
Another advantage of the Smart PAR system is that it will help you meet the new building code requirements. ASHRAE 90.1 – 2010 has significant changes in the installation of new lighting and it’s coming soon. Although some of the changes may not apply to your greenhouse some of them will and it pays to be prepared.
- Threshold for triggering code compliance – Any new construction projects and retrofit projects involving altercation of > 10% of connected lighting.
- Automatic Shutoff of lighting – Required in all spaces.
- Additional control requirements – All spaces must have a control device to control the lighting in the space. These devices must be either: manual on or auto on to 50% or less.
- Space Controls – The following spaces require the installation of an occupancy sensor or a time switch that turns lighting off within 30 minutes after the last occupant leaves the space:
- Lecture halls
- Conference and meeting rooms
- Training Rooms
- Employee lunch and break rooms
- All storage and supply rooms between 50-1000 square feet.
- Rooms used for document copying and printing.
- Dressing, locker and fitting rooms
- Light Level reduction – Enclosed spaces must have controls that reduce the power level by 30-70% of full connected load in addition to turning off all lighting.
- Daylight Zones – Automatic, multi-level daylighting controls must be installed in enclosed areas 250 sq. ft. or more and all top lit areas greater than 900 sq. ft.
- Parking Garage Lighting Controls – Lighting must be reduced automatically by at least 30% of connected power when motion is not detected within 30 minutes. Automatic daylighting controls must be installed for perimeter lighting.
- Exterior Lighting – Lighting must be off during the day by photosensor. Lighting is regulated during the night so it is either off or at a reduced level depending on the purpose of the lighting.
- Automatic receptacle – 50%