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The Benefits Of LED Lighting in Greenhouse Cannabis Cultivation

The cannabis industry has moved out of the basement and into the light, and with this shift in politics and regulation occurring worldwide comes the need for growers to change the way they think about lighting and energy consumption

Greenhouse growing, because it relies in part on the sun, can result in lower energy bills compared to indoor growing, and is becoming a popular alternative to traditional indoor growth facilities. When the industry first got the green light to cultivate medical marijuana commercially, two types of High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps were used—High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Pulse Start Metal Halide (PSMH)—mainly because these were what was readily available. Most growers are still using these lamps, but growers are becoming aware of the fact that an even more energy and cost-efficient alternative is available in the form of LED lighting.

Why use supplemental lighting in a greenhouse?

Greenhouse growing is highly automated. Growers maintain precise control over the environment (e.g. temperature, humidity, air-quality, lighting, etc…). With the cannabis plant on a 12-hour photosynthesis cycle, it is critical in certain seasons and geographical locations to make up for lost daylight hours and light intensity—the sun might shine brightly in Washington state 14 hours a day in the summer, but the rest of the year supplemental lighting can be a necessity.

In addition to seasonal and geographical lighting changes, weather and particles in the atmosphere can alter the quality and quantity of light. With concerns over changes in global climate patterns and increased energy grid usage, managing greenhouse lighting systems in a responsible manner is more critical than ever before. With current indoor cannabis production estimated at 1% of the U.S.’s total electricity consumption per year—what roughly 2 million average households generate—and with the industry expected to grow exponentially, the carbon footprint must be taken into consideration.

Cost saving benefits of LED grow lights

“But LED costs too much upfront,” is a fear often expressed by growers.

We at Heliospectra are here to say: the upfront cost of purchasing our LED grow light system is more than worth it.

Our lighting system replaces dials and filaments with a computerized interface and software, and longer lasting, customizable LED lamps. This translates into optimized plant growth and plant quality. Our systems can provide specialized light recipes aimed specifically at the cannabis plant’s most beneficial light range—the blue/red/far-red spectrum (400 to 735 nm). Compared to many other LED companies Heliospectra grow lights also contain a higher ratio of green light. Green light is often overlooked (some say not needed at all) in supplemental lighting, but it has proven importance for photosynthetic activity and overall plant health.

Some additional benefits of LED grow lights to reduce long term labor and production costs are:

  • LED lights consume 50-60% less energy than HID lights
  • Because there is no filament to burn, LED lights last longer (50,000+ hours, compared to the 12-13,000 hour lifecycle of most HID lamps)
  • LED lights produce less heat, reducing HVAC costs and the risk of fire
  • Unlike HID lamps, LED lights do not require an external ballast, further reducing power consumption
  • LED lights are smaller and more robust than HID lights; they are faster to emit light requiring no warm-up time, and the light output can be concentrated onto the plants with proper optic lenses

The industry has grown at a much faster rate than expected leaving some technologies struggling to catch up. Heliospectra stands at the leading edge of the technological push for more effective, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly supplemental lighting solutions.

As the green revolution spreads—in terms of medical marijuana cultivation and environmental stewardship—legislation will very likely be put into place regarding the use of energy-gobbling lighting systems like HPSGrowers using LED grow lights are already receiving subsidies and rebates for making the right choice. Talk to us now about transitioning to Heliospectra’s LED-based lighting system. We will work together with you to design a lighting environment optimal for your plants and grow facility to help ensure high quality end-product for your customers and help your business be more sustainable and innovative as you grow.

Contact us today and find out how LED grow lights can benefit your grow operation.