Why LED Lighting Technology puts the ‘Green’ in Greenhouse
LED grow lights are becoming increasingly popular for urban farming because of the significant benefits of LED lighting technology for sustainable urban agricultural practices. Join us in taking a closer look at the top 5 benefits of LED lights for urban farming and how LED illumination is revolutionizing the industry.
As you certainly know, LED lighting technology has gained a lot of attention in the past years for its distinct advantages over traditional lighting systems. Because the world pays more attention to global warming and sustainability measures, LED lights are proving to be the present and future when it comes to illumination.
LED lights are being employed in increasingly many sectors ranging from private use to office lighting, street lighting, airport illumination as well as in other technologies such as television sets, smartphones and computers, another huge potential for LED lighting technology is in greenhouse settings.
In order for plants to grow and flourish well in a greenhouse, it requires a high attention to ensuring appropriate temperatures and correct brightness in order to optimize the process of photosynthesis.
Over the past years, researchers and scientists worldwide have focused their attention on LED grow lights in order to further optimize and improve greenhouse conditions for plants. LED lighting has revealed many advantages in comparison to more traditional lighting systems such as the high-pressure sodium installments frequently used in the past.
Let’s take a look at the 5 main advantages of LED grow lights in greenhouse settings for plants:
1. Increased Lifetime
LED lighting’s largest advantage for consumers is its incredibly long lifetime compared to alternative illumination technologies. Light emitting diodes, due to their high efficiency and low energy use last for up to 100,000 hours. This means eleven years of continuous lighting or, alternatively, around twenty-two years of half-time operation.
In addition, LED lights do not suddenly stop working but rather slowly decrease in brightness, giving the consumer a head’s up prior to the end of its long lifetime and thus ensuring the necessary preparation time needed to install a new set of lights.
For obvious reasons, this is also a major reason why LED lighting technology is ideal for greenhouse plants:
In an environment where constant lighting is needed to make sure the plants can grow and flourish properly, lifetime is extremely important and of course, a long lifetime also allows for less frequent maintenance service time and costs.
2. Targeted Wavelengths
In order for plants of any sort to grow healthily in a greenhouse environment, the conditions therein need to be carefully regulated and controlled. Most importantly, they need to grow under the right temperature and light in order for photosynthesis to occur as naturally as possible.
This is where LED lighting technology comes in:
Research has shown that plants are most sensitive to particular wavelengths of light and absorb the most chlorophyll when exposed to red and blue lighting colors. The highest efficiency of chlorophyll absorption occurs between 400 to 500nm and between 600 too 700nm, which is impossible to optimize using traditional HPS lighting where most of the light output falls outside this range.
LED grow lights, on the other hand, can employ specific spectra to match these peak absorption ranges. Special LEDs are therefore installed at the two wavelengths closest to the optimal values. This means that plant growth efficiency can be improved by using targeted wavelengths in order to ensure that as little as possible energy is lost during the process of plant growth.
3. Huge Energy Savings
Another reason for LED grow light systems being the by far superior lighting solution for greenhouse purposes is its energy efficiency.
Recent research has revealed that installing LED lights instead of high pressure sodium lamps as conventionally used in greenhouse settings can significantly decrease the energy consumptions, increase efficiency and thus achieve far more eco-friendly greenhouse solution.
When testing the difference in efficiency between the High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps versus the LED lighting systems, results showed that LEDs decrease energy consumption by 40%.
Another recent study of tomatoes in greenhouses revealed that for this setting, energy consumption can be decreased by up to 75% when compared to HPS technology. When applying this to a larger scale and in the context of environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions for a greener planet, there is no doubt that LED technology is the future of sustainable urban farming and large-scale urban agricultural projects.
4. Flexible Designs & Many Possibilities
LED lighting has another significant advantage of being more flexible in design and technology compared to alternative lighting methods. For greenhouse lighting, this is especially important as different methods and placements can be employed for optimal lighting of the plants.
LED illumination can be used as ceiling lights, multilayer vertical systems and inter-lighting designs between plants. The latter two employments are particularly important for saving energy and increasing efficiency as less light is lost to the environment and more light is given off directly to the plants to stimulate growth.
5. Less Heat, More Light
Last but not least, LED grow lights have the clear advantage in comparison to other lighting methods in that it emits far less heat. This is of crucial importance for plant growth as too much heat can be very damaging to plants, decreasing growth and often leading to decreased life time.
With the use of LED technology, far less heat is emitted and instead a higher efficiency of light ensures that the plants receive exactly what they need to grow and blossom.