Amid escalating energy expenses and a soaring climate crisis jeopardizing global food supplies, Sushant Kulkarni, an expert at MokoLight, said it’s time for farmers around the world to update to LED grow lights for their energy-efficiency and environmental benefits.
In terms of efficiency benefits, I bet you must hear that LED lights consume less electricity and reduce energy consumption by up to 75% compared with conventional options like Fluorescent and HPS lights. Below we will explore the underlying reasons why LED grow lights are so energy-efficient.
LED Grow Lights Consume Less Energy Overall
LED lights consume up to 75% less energy compared with traditional light sources.
LEDs serve as the direct origin of photons, generating light photons when an electric current passes through them. They lack filaments or materials requiring combustion for light emission. Roughly 30-40% of the energy they consume transforms into light, with minimal loss of heat. This efficiency stems from the effective utilization of energy.
Incandescent grow lights necessitate heating the filament material via electric current until it glows, resulting in light emission. In this process, approximately 90% of the energy consumed is dissipated as thermal radiation, with only a 10% light emission yield.
Conversely, CFLs employ a tube containing argon and mercury vapor, generating light energy through electric current. However, merely 20% of the consumed energy is converted into light, as a substantial amount is dissipated as heat energy.
LED grow lights exhibit superior luminous efficacy. For instance, if your plants require 7000 lumens of illumination, an LED employs 96 watts, a CFL uses 115 watts, and an HID utilizes 117-140 watts. Here’s an alternate perspective: a 100-watt LED produces 7300 lumens, a 100-watt CFL emits 6100 lumens, and a 100-watt HID yields 5000-6000 lumens.
LED Grow Lights Use Energy More Efficiently Than HIDs
LED lights not only have a lower energy consumption compared with HID grow lights, but also designed to effectively conserve and utilize the energy they consume.
Ballasts are used to manage the current and supply adequate voltage to initiate HID bulbs. The efficiency of these bulbs hinges on ballast quality and age. While the efficiency reduction can vary, it is consistently noticeable. Conventional grow lights necessitate ballasts to transform electricity from a standard socket into usable power for HID bulbs. This conversion inherently leads to energy wastage.
Conversely, LED grow lights can directly plug into a conventional power source, eliminating the requirement for ballasts and consequently eradicating energy wastage.
Direct Beam of Light
LEDs emit light in a focused direction, eliminating the need for additional equipment to redirect various spectra onto crops. LED grow lights directly illuminate the plant canopy. This ensures that all the energy consumed by the lights is efficiently targeted at the plants.
In contrast, traditional grow lights like HPS and MH bulbs emit light in all directions. To redirect these beams onto plants, hoods or reflectors are necessary. However, even with these additions, there is a phenomenon known as “trapped light,” where light remains stuck behind the bulb and doesn’t effectively reach the plants.
More Efficient Light Spectrum
The discussion on energy efficiency often overlooks the subpar light recipe of HID lights, possibly due to their established success in cultivating healthy crops. The assumption is that if crops appear thriving, they must be receiving the appropriate light spectrum, right? However, it’s more complicated.
Some growers lean towards using HPS lights over LEDs due to the perception of greater brightness from HPS bulbs. They believe that HPS lighting offers higher intensity for better flowering yields. This perception, however, is quite misleading.
The truth is that HPS bulbs seem brighter because they emit a larger proportion of green and yellow light, which are wavelengths more easily detected by the human eye. It cannot be denied that green light penetrates deeper into the plant canopy than other colors, allowing it to reach lower leaves that may be shaded. The issue lies in the fact that plants utilize minimal green and yellow light for essential processes like photosynthesis.
In contrast, while LED lights might contain a portion of the yellow and green light spectrum, they avoid squandering energy by flooding plants with excessive yellow and green light. Plus, LED grow lights can provide variable spectra, granting growers the ability to fine-tune the intensity for each color for better plant growth.
Ventilation or Cooling System
HID grow lights necessitate supplementary ventilation and cooling mechanisms to eliminate the surplus heat generated by the light. This ventilation entails the use of additional exhaust fans, leading to increased electricity expenses. Conversely, LED grow lights eliminate the need for cooling, as many models incorporate built-in cooling systems with fans that consume significantly lower power.
Which LED Grow Lights Are Most Energy-efficient?
Your ultimate goal is to have a light source that delivers maximum output while consuming minimal power. Additionally, you require a light with an ideal spectrum tailored to support plant growth.
The option between the two is up to personal preferences. COBs offer enhanced penetration, while quantum boards provide more uniform coverage and operate at cooler temperatures.
LED grow lights significantly outperform their counterparts in terms of energy saving. Furthermore, the extended lifespan and minimal operational expenses of LEDs contribute to substantial savings from a broader perspective. Not only do they diminish heating costs, but they also reduce the need for frequent bulb replacements. The absence of components vulnerable to burnout or deterioration due to excess heat ensures their prolonged functionality compared with traditional grow lights.
Additionally, LED grow lights are designed with a sustainable, forward-looking approach. Approximately 90% of their components are recyclable, and 85% can be reused, effectively reducing landfill waste and promoting a circular economy.
While the initial setup expense might be higher, it remains a crucial investment for achieving desired outcomes. Notably, LED grow lights not only consume less power but also yield superior returns on investment and incur lower maintenance costs than HPS grow lights. Over the long term, these costs can be efficiently managed and reduced, rendering LED grow lights a financially rewarding choice.
MokoLight specializes in crafting sustainable LED lighting solutions tailored to your unique cultivation setups. Our expertise can help you attain optimal results while simultaneously curbing both your capital and operational expenses. Contact us today!