Amid soaring energy costs and a deepening climate change crisis that threaten global food security, Craig Price, Operations Director at Light Science Technologies explains why now is the time for indoor farmers to consider the simple switch to LED grow lighting to save energy, giving cost and environmental benefits.
Two of the most commonly used lights are LED grow lights and HPS grow lights. LED lights are significantly less heavy on energy usage than HPS grow lights, making the energy savings considerable. Little wonder then that they are becoming increasingly invaluable to commercial and non-commercial growers, especially when combined with their longer life span. LED lighting system manufacturers found that the average LED grow light lifespan – variable depending on location, use case and other factors – was around 50,000-70,000 hours while HPS grow lights were only expected to last for up to 20, 000 hours.
Up to 40% less energy consumption
Research and studies have found that LED grow lights are the most cost and energy efficient solution for indoor tomato growing. Not only that, but the research also proved that the fruit quality wasn’t affected – in fact it remained consistent across multiple lighting options using LED grow lights.
A report on LEDs for Energy Efficient Greenhouse Lighting found that LEDs can potentially be a far more energy efficient light source than some traditional options, but that it does require careful attention to design. Another article on LED Lighting Systems for Horticulture claimed that there is power use reduction per unit of light output, and cost decrease per unit of light output.
Craig comments: “When you look at the current HPS lighting, a typical 600W product will deliver around 1185umol/s so the switch to LED offers significant energy savings when used correctly. With products achieving up to 3.3umol/j (subject to emission spectrum), then the equivalent energy requirement could be as low as 360W, effectively offering up to a 40% energy saving when compared to the standard HPS lamps. In addition to this, the ongoing maintenance is almost halved when you compare the life of an LED product versus a typical HPS product.”
The longevity of LED grow lights makes them a sustainable and strategic move. Light Science Technologies’ nurturGROW range features market-leading LED lighting technology which is backed by a 25-year product lifecycle, ensuring indoor farmers maximise use of every element over a longer lifespan to generate maximum yields and save them a third on future costs. It benefits from a sustainable, future proof design, as 90% of its components are recyclable and 85% is also reusable, therefore drastically cutting down on landfill waste and contributing to the circular economy.
Reduced heat output
HPS grow lights produce a lot of heat and require specialised air-cooling facilities. LED grow lights, on the other hand, are much cooler than HPS grow lights. Producing only tiny amounts of heat, LED grow lights can be placed closer to the plants and, because they provide different types of light spectrum, they can be positioned intelligently around a grow space to optimise plant health and yield. Working with companies that understand spectrum, light, and technology, growers can use LED grow lights in a variety of different ways, optimising their use of space and light in unexpected ways. LED grow lights can fit neatly into small, tight and confined spaces as well as into large commercial spaces, making them a lot more flexible than HPS grow lights.
Although the initial set up can be more expensive, this cost cannot be bypassed if you want a solution that delivers the right results. That said, LED grow lights do consume less power, deliver a better return on investment and cost less to maintain than HPS grow lights. The costs can be measurably managed and reduced over the long term, making it a cost-effective option.
LED grow lights must be installed intelligently to ensure that you get the most out of the spend, more longevity and better crop results. “Not only can energy savings be made by switching to LED, but further savings can also be achieved if the lighting solution is applied correctly within the growing environment. However, a poor understanding and application of any lighting solution can lead to anticipated savings being eroded.
“Working with an experienced LED grow light partner, one that is customer-focused by design, means it understands every variable and can help you to design a sustainable solution that fits your unique growing parameters to help you achieve the best possible results while reducing both your CAPEX and OPEX costs.”