LED Lighting Fast Becoming Horticultural Industry Standard (UPDATED)

On October 9th, we held our third annual Horticultural Lighting Conference and I am pleased to say that it was a great success!

Philip Smallwood, Strategies Unlimited
Philip Smallwood, Strategies Unlimited

On October 9th, we held our third annual Horticultural Lighting Conference and I am pleased to say that it was a great success! Due to the research we have been conducting on the market for our latest horticultural lighting report, and from my experience in the general lighting market, I entered the conference thinking that it is only a matter of time before LED lighting becomes mainstream in the industry. To be honest, my assumptions were only confirmed during the conference!

Presentations at the conference covered a wide gamut of topics for the industry, ranging from the latest research and case studies to standards and incentives, and from what I saw, they are all pointing to a market where LED lighting will beat out incumbent technologies at all turns. Below are just a couple examples:

  • Kathleen Baughman, the Operations Manager at Iwasaki Brothers (one of the largest ornamental flower growers in the Northeast US), presented findings from their most recent research into the effects of different lighting technologies and fixtures on their crops during their different growth phases. While I won’t go into the detail of the results, I was blown away when it was noted that they stopped comparing plants under the old high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting scheme since it was so obvious that their quality was so low. There were multiple benefits from installing LED fixtures, including faster bloom times, stronger root systems, and increased quality.
  • Axel Pearson, the Technical Manager for the Design Lights Consortium (DLC), presented on the newly released requirements for LED fixtures to be placed on the DLC’s Qualified Product Lists. While this may not seem as interesting or exciting as other talks, it is a huge step for the LED fixture industry to continue making inroads into the market. Utilities have been looking to offer rebates for more efficient lighting technologies to be used in the horticultural lighting industry for a while. However, navigating the plethora of different LED fixtures with varying lighting qualities is a difficult prospect for any entity. Having the DLC certify these products will only increase the number of rebates offered for these products, lowering the initial cost for growers and effectively negating one of the biggest arguments for not installing LED fixtures.

In my opinion, LED fixtures are here to stay and the only question that needs to be answered is how quickly they will become the dominant technology in the market.

Don’t even get me started on the cannabis market.

*Updated Dec. 5, 2018 4:52 PM to reflect correct author.

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