In a recent webinar, James Eaves, an agricultural economist, data scientist, and professor at the Université Laval in Quebec, revealed the results of a comparative study of LED and HPS lighting systems for growing cannabis indoors. Professor Eaves’ study demonstrated that LEDs provide growers with a number of benefits. Specifically, LEDs save energy, offer a sustainable and controllable system, and lead to better growth. Let’s take a deeper dive into the reasons why LED lighting is better than HPS with some relevant statistics and studies.
LEDs Save Energy
Although LEDs have an initial cost that’s two to four times higher than HPS, they save a significant amount of energy by comparison. For example, a 625-Watts LED can effectively replace a 1215-Watts HPS. If growers use one of these grow lights for 12 hours per day, they will save 3382 kWh of energy each year. Imagine a grower had 100 fixtures and paid 12 cents per kWh for electricity. That would translate to an annual cost saving of $40,589.46 – savings that would continue to accumulate year after year.
LEDs Offer a Sustainable and Controllable System
LEDs also save on HVAC energy costs, since they run far cooler than HPS lighting. As a rule of thumb, a 50% reduction in lighting energy results in about a 30% reduction in the required environmental control system capability. Specifically, Illumitex LEDs produce 1800 BTUs per fixture versus 4350 BTUs for those of a competitor. For a facility with 100 fixtures, the LED lighting would require 15 cooling tons of capacity, compared with over 36 for the competing product. Not only will that save on energy, but the facility would only require two cooling units, not three as with the HPS. That capital cost savings alone would typically amount to $7500, resulting in a further improvement to the bottom line.
LEDs Lead to Better Growth
Of course, the cost savings wouldn’t be worth it if it affected the quality of plants. Fortunately, LEDs shine here as well. Multiple studies have been done on a wide variety of plants including tomato, cucumber, rose, cannabis, bedding flowers, and Brassica microgreens. LEDs have consistently been found to produce better growth, prevent undesirable elongation, and increase phytochemicals such as phenols, anthocyanin, flavonols, and ascorbic acid, as well as mineral elements. They also result in better plug quality in bedding flowers, higher biomass and fruit production in tomatoes, and higher THC amounts in Cannabis sativa.
Illumitex Can Help You Grow Better Plants While Saving Money
Illumitex, Inc. wants to be your partner for your greenhouse, vertical farm, or indoor grow initiative. With a more than a decade of experience in both LED lighting and horticultural science, we can design, produce, deliver, and support exactly the right solution for your unique environment and objectives. Improve efficiencies, crop quality, profitability, and more by taking your horticulture lighting and technology to the next level. Contact Illumitex today to see how.