When the Lighting Industry Meets the Farming Industry

Horticultural Lighting is the fastest growing segment of the LED lighting industry. Fueled by a continual rise in population, and availability of limited agricultural land, there is an increasing need for indoor grow spaces and greenhouses.

The “Horticulture Lighting Market by Technology, Application, Cultivation, Lighting Type, Offering, and Region – Global Forecast to 2023”  predicts the horticultural lighting market to grow from USD 2.43 billion in 2018 to 6.2 billion by 2023.

Traditional light sources, HID & fluorescent, have long been the trusted lighting solution for indoor grow facilities. However, with the advancements in technologies, LED grow lighting has erased early doubts and proven to be a vital and essential element in the horticultural industry.

Why LED grow lights?

In addition to significant energy savings, LED Horticultural Lighting provides growers with customization, modularity, and the ability to optimize plant growth and wealth. In a controlled indoor environment, LED grow lights produce higher yields for year-round grow cycles for plants, fruits, vegetables, flowers and legal cannabis.

An LED grow light system will generate the same or better illumination than a traditional lighting system, with less than half of the electrical energy input. With the reduced heat output of LED’s versus traditional lighting sources, the use of LED lighting will also help reduce the demand on the HVAC system, offering additional energy savings.

Where will LED Grow lights be installed?

Vertical Farming: maximize every cubic foot of a growing space by utilizing vertically stacked structures to grow products in a tight, controlled space.

Greenhouses: combine natural sunlight and artificial light, in addition to trapping humidity and moisture to emulate a true growing environment.

Warehouses: An artificial growing environment that relies on the complete system of lighting and HVAC to best reflect an outdoor environment.

With the increased demand for indoor horticultural farming, there will be an increase in demand for horticultural lighting design along with an array of questions.

• What are the important factors to consider when designing horticultural lighting?
• How do I calculate the quantity of fixtures and spacing required?
• What types of solutions are available for horticultural lighting?
• What trusted manufacturers provide horticultural lighting?

Traditionally, when we think about lighting, we measure a fixture by the lumen output and how many foot candles are needed on a work surface. But for plant lighting, the important values to consider are Photosynthetic Active Radiation (PAR) the measurement of usable wavelengths for plants from the fixture, and Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD) the measurement of active photons per second measured at the plant. These are the components that are going to help provide a greater and more robust yield.

To help calculate the appropriate levels, our in-house applications team utilizes AGI32 to perform horticultural lighting calculations based on the needs of the plant/project.

Our leading manufacturer of horticultural lighting, SpecGrade LED, utilizes a modular system that allows for the adaptation of the fixture based on the needs of the environment, as well as interchangeable parts to upgrade the existing fixtures as LED’s improve and new technologies arise. Their modular fixture Linea can also be used as a side lighter offering a new angle on the growing process to increase yields. SpecGrade LED has successfully worked with Ohio State University to provide them with the LED grow lights to improve the growth of their plants by providing the correct stable levels of PPFD. To read more about it, see the link below.

Whether you are looking to learn more about horticultural lighting or are designing an indoor grow space, we at SDLA are here to help you through this process and support you through the life of the project. We have the knowledge, resources and tools to assist you with designing horticultural lighting for your next project, let us know how we can help you grow.

DLC Website

DLC – Horticultural Lighting

Case Study

The Ohio State University Case Study

Horticultural Lighting

The Whisper Series LED Speaks to Rady Children’s Hospital

Rady Children’s Hospital is a one-of-a-kind hospital for the San Diego area. As the leading pediatric trauma center in the region, it has a robust practice including aggressive surgical approaches and is well-known for its cutting-edge Neurosurgery program. This state-of-the-art facility and staff are using the latest technologies for its medical practices, so its facilities need to be top of the line, even down to the administrative offices that are the backbone of the hospital.

In 2016, the hospital was looking for new LED lighting to update its facilities. It wanted to achieve specific energy savings goals, and have new lighting that would improve the light quality in its administrative areas. In the past, the light quality had been sub-par, creating hot spots and poor distribution.

SDLA was selected for the project, and we worked closely with our electrical partners at Randall Lamb to find and install a solution that would meet the hospital’s energy and aesthetic requirements. Craig Kerstetter, Electrical Project Manager, Randall Lamb Associates, Inc. was kind enough to say, “The SDLA team was knowledgeable and helpful during the design and construction phase.”

We felt this project was a no-brainer for the new Whisper Series LED from Acuity Brands. The fixture’s multiple lens options for the center and side panels make it easy to achieve the perfect design aesthetic and even illumination across a space. Whisper’s sloping side panels and lack of latches on the outside of the fixture create a clean and simple feel with no seams.

Our collaboration with the electrical contractor and specifier was crucial in achieving a photometric layout to make sure we met the recommended and suggested IES foot-candle measurements. In addition to the energy-saving qualities of the LED fixtures, we were able to increase energy savings and controllability of the fixtures by installing an nLight® integrated controls system from Acuity Brands. This easy-to-install controls system also helped Rady Children’s Hospital meet the new 2016 Title 24 Standards that became effective January 1, 2017.