Recently, we received a great question about lighting efficiency:
“I use 1000 watt grow lights, but yours run at 1300 watts.
How is that more efficient?”
It’s a great question and we are devoting an entire blog post to it! We are really proud that our Sun On-Demand lighting solutions are the most efficient grow lights on the market. But, how can that be when our lamps run at 1300W? At face value the numbers seem to tell it all- we’re used to thinking that lower wattage equates to efficiency. However, wattage numbers alone do not tell the whole story.
As you know, not all lights are the same. Plants in particular need quality light and lots of it! But what does “quality light” look like exactly? We’ve discussed some of this in our previous article “How to Choose the Best Indoor Lights for Plants,” but it’s also worth revisiting here. The highest quality light has:
The right spectrum
How much of the light emitted falls within the PAR range (between 400 to 700 nanometers)? The PAR range is the light plants use for photosynthesis. Lamps that emit a high percentage of PAR light in ratios that mimic natural sunlight are more efficient, since more of it can be used by your plants to grow and thrive. This coupled with the sun’s full spectrum and some tweaking of specific colors can increase yields by more than 30% and the quality of the compounds within the plant by 3 to 5%.
High flux density
How many photons within PAR is the light actually producing, and how dense is the flow? Think of a high flux density as a tropical rainstorm of light, as opposed to a trickle. (When taking this measurement, consider the height distance between the lights and the plant, and take an average across the canopy to ensure consistent coverage.)
Low heat output
What kind of heat is coming off the lights? HID lamps put out 50% light and 50% heat, and LED’s generally put out 15% light and 85% heat, driving up cooling loads for air conditioning and ventilation equipment. The heat also means the lights need to sit farther away, which exponentially reduces the amount of light hitting the plants.
As you can see, efficiency is not just about wattage. It is about how well a lighting system transforms electricity into value for your plants, the patients, and the growers.
We have used scientific biomimicry principles (solving problems by mimicking solutions from nature) in our design process to bring the most usable light to your plants of any light that we know about. Our design approach replicates what mother nature already does for plants: deliver true sunlight for maximum photosynthesis.
Our Sun On-Demand plasma systems convert 75% of the electricity they use into pure sunlight. They do this so well and so uniformly that two 1300W lamps can cover a 225 sq. ft. area evenly. You would need at least fifteen HID lamps (each 1000W) to cover the same space. We have written up a great comparison chart where you can dive into the efficiency numbers in more detail.
This is why we are so excited about Sun On-Demand lighting solutions! We’re working with leaders in the indoor horticulture industry to help them grow healthier, higher yielding plants with higher quality medical compounds. The bonus (and a very important result from our viewpoint) is that plasma lighting also reduces utility costs and environmental footprints. It really is a win-win (win-win) kind of situation. The value continues to accrue year after year.
If you have other great questions for us to explore, leave a comment below or reach out to our team via the contact form. If you’re committed to growing the highest quality medicinal plants sustainably, we would love to hear from you.