April 4, 2018
Invest in Uniformity: How LED Lights Can Offer Superior Uniform Lighting for Your Grow
While sustainability and adjustability are often the driving reasons for switching to LED lights, there is another benefit that deserves some attention: uniformity.
Uniformity, in this particular context, refers to an even amount of light distributed across a plant canopy. With effective lighting systems, the required amount of light for photosynthesis is delivered evenly to each plant. Light uniformity allows crops to flourish—this benefit does not only encourage faster growth, but also a healthier, high-quality harvest. Today, uniformity simply cannot be sacrificed.
One of the best aspects of LED lights is their ability to run cool with sustained high performance. Distance from the plant itself is the biggest detriment to uniformity; with LED lights, the bulb can be much closer to the plant than older HPS lights, without risking burn. The difference between a ProGrowTech light mounted at 6” compared to 18” can be as much as 20 percent!
It is also imperative to mention the increased efficiency of cooler lights. This aspect of LED can save time and energy: you can focus on the quality of the plants, not just the quality of your air conditioning. Cooler temps also mean less water evaporation and your plants will better retain moisture. Furthermore, it’s important to understand some of the language behind uniformity. Deciphering acronyms such as PAR, PPF and PPFD will help horticulturalists better understand the interaction between lighting technology, plants, and how this affects uniformity. This knowledge may empower them in determining which lights are most suitable for their grow.
- PAR: Photosynthetic Active Radiation – PAR is sometimes misunderstood as a measurement, such as kilos or ounces. Rather, it is the type of light that is possible for plants to absorb for photosynthesis. This light is actualized in wavelengths seen between 400 to 700 nanometers.
- PPF: Photosynthetic Photon Flux – This term refers to the amount of PAR released by a light source each second, measured in moles per second (μmol/s). In other words, this is the amount of useful light given off by the lighting system at hand. This measurement truly speaks to the efficiency of a lighting system.
- PPFD: Photosynthetic Flux Density – PPFD is also measured in moles, but reveals the amount of useful light (PAR) that falls on the individual plant at any given second. It is important to clarify what area of space is taken into consideration. For example, the Evolve EV360 ProGrowTech lights deliver up to 450 µmol/m2 PPFD delivered in a 4’x4’ lighting pattern, translating to superior uniformity.
Given these points, the quality of the lighting technology and the amount of light absorbed by the plant contribute to uniformity. LED lights have a true advantage because of their ability to support consistent PAR and with efficient design, maintain high PPFD. In the end, uniformity can play an integral role to a successful grow facility and should absolutely be taken into consideration when investing in LED lights.