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The effects of horticultural lighting on plant growth

Plant on the left did not get to enjoy LED horticultural lighting and did not do well. Plants on the right enjoyed horticultural lighting and thrived.

What is Horticultural Lighting Used For?

Horticultural Lighting is becoming more and more common. Actually, we are blown away by the explosive growth and demand. However, what exactly is Horticultural lighting?

Farmers are not only using this lighting to expand their produce season in rural settings, they are also using new light technology in urban areas. Therefore, helping to provide fresh produce for residents all year long.

Greenhouses use Horticultural Lighting to grow different types of produce. Furthermore, these greenhouses include special LED lighting. This special lighting gives off the ideal amount of light to grow the desired vegetation. These greenhouses help farmers to continue their production all year and in any landscape.

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Why Rural Communities Need Greenhouses?

When most people think of rural living they think of rolling fields of vegetation and livestock. However, during the winter months, those same rolling fields are white with snow. Farmers still need to make a living during those months. Also, not all farms raise livestock. Greenhouses could supplement these farmers’ income during the winter months. It is during these winter months that greenhouses become more necessary.

With the use of greenhouses with LED lighting, farmers can grow local produce all year long. These greenhouses can bring new opportunities for different crops. LED lighting is easily adjustable. Therefore, these greenhouses would allow for a new opportunity to grow produce that is not native to specific areas.

Why Cities Need Greenhouses?

Urban areas are not well known for having much farmland. This is due to the lack of available land. However, with horticultural greenhouses, there is no need for farmland. Larger cities will be able to supply fresh produce to their residences.

Along with the LED technology, there have been other advances. These advances are a part of the transition to more local fresh produce in urban settings. Container-Based Vertical Farming is one example of these advances.

Container-Based Vertical Farming

What is Container-Based Vertical Farming? This is when agriculturalists grow crops in repurposed shipping containers or buildings. These structures take the place of traditional fields. This type of farming is becoming more popular in urban areas. This is due to the lack of farmland. Also, this advancement in farming can create new opportunities for fresh produce in other areas.

Grocery Store Uses

Grocery stores will also see benefits from this type of farming. They will be able to provide fresh produce all year long. This also means that there is no wait time for deliveries. Often produce can go bad before arriving at their destination. Therefore, there is less waste of products.

Another benefit is the growing time of products. In some cases, it is only a week or two. Once these onsite growing containers are implemented the more efficient and cost-effective they will be in keeping up with demands.

Helping the Less Fortunate

Another benefit of container growing is for shelters and food banks. Often times there is difficulty in receiving donations. Instead of being fully dependent on donations shelters and food banks can have their own growing containers. Onsite farming means that places would have a continuous supply of fresh produce year-round. These onsite containers will change the way that these facilities operate.

This addition can also become an opportunity for education. Therefore, more people can be taught about farming and these new technologies. Also, providing more job opportunities. These opportunities for education will change lives. Changing the need for these organizations.

More Information

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To learn more about Container-Based Vertical farming follow read this article LEDs Magazine.

For more information on LED Lighting check out our blogs Lighting with LEDs vs. Incandescent, The History of LEDs, and LED 101.

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LED lighting is becoming more prominent in everyday items. You see them in vehicles on the roads, stop lights, and even in household appliances. With how often we see LED lights it is surprising how little we actually know about them. We here at Falconer Electronics Inc. work with LEDs everyday so we thought it would be a great opportunity to give out our knowledge on the subject.

What is an LED?

LED stands for Light-Emitting Diode. What does “Light-Emitting Diode” mean exactly? More specifically LEDs are semiconductor diodes. Semiconductor diodes are small electrical devices that allow electrical current to flow in a single direction.

The diagram below shows how these LEDs actually emit the light we see.  

LED                 

When positive particles meet with  negative particles within the semiconductor LED light is created.

How are there different colors?

Inside the semiconductor there are “energy bands” that contain the positive and negative particles. Since a separation of these energy bands determine the light particles that will be seen. These light particles and separation of energy bands are what determine the wavelength of light that comes from the LED which is what gives them their colors.

The use of different material within the semiconductor mixed with different energy band gaps will lead to the emitting of different colors of light. Also noteworthy is that there no true white light in LEDs.  A covering over the natural yellow of the phosphor or the combination of colored lights creates the white color that is often associated with certain bulbs.

Below is a list of the different materials of semiconductors and what colors of light they give off:

  • Indium gallium nitride (InGaN): blue, green and ultraviolet high-brightness LEDs
  • Aluminum gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP): yellow, orange and red high-brightness LEDs
  • Aluminum gallium arsenide (AlGaAs): red and infrared LEDs
  • Gallium phosphide (GaP): yellow and green LEDs

LEDs and Heat

LEDs do not give off heat like typical incandescent or halogen bulbs. Also LED bulbs include a heat sink in their design. A heat sink is a device that absorbs the heat and keeps the LEDS from burning out because of overheating.  In addition, by drawing the produced heat away from the LED and taking the heat onto itself heat sinks absorb this excess heat. However not all heat sinks look alike just like the actual LED bulbs.

If an LED’s heat sink isn’t functioning properly it can lead to some issues due to:

  • LEDs can have shorter life spans
  • LEDs can begin to flicker after as short a time as one year
  • A colored bulb can see a change in the hue that is being seen
  • The light can begin to look dim and therefore not light up a room or device as is needed
  •  Possibility of uneven lighting given off 
  • Most notably these malfunctioning bulbs can continue to use power even when they are not in use

Coming Soon:

The History of LEDs, Environmental Benefits Using LED Lighting, Falconer Electronics Produces LED Lighting, and Lighting with LEDs vs. Incandescent

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Resources:

http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/nlpip/lightinganswers/led/whatisanled.asp

http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/2004/01/what-is-an-led.html

https://www.energystar.gov/products/lighting_fans/light_bulbs/learn_about_led_bulbs