We bet you have heard the word efficient to describe your led light or that LED is more efficient than HPS and so on, these statements are all correct however there are ways to be be even more efficient when using LED fixtures to grow your plants besides just switching from HID systems to LED.
The energy crisis has hit us all hard, and that includes LED grow light users, regardless of how many lights you have, everyone has their own limits on their affordability. So here we will look at ways to be even more efficient with your lights which will help you save even more and in some cases not reducing yield.
- Ok so this is a no brainer, if you're still using HID then Stop!! just stop, get yourself a high efficiency LED, then you can implement the following tips. :)
Now that's out the way lets get onto the actual tips.
When flowering 30w of light per square foot is an excellent metric to base your light requirements when picking your light for your space, it is all you need and in some case's even less can achieve the same results. Tests have proven when using an ultra system you can go as low as 20w per square foot with the correct distribution of the light. Cramming a larger power fixture into the same space will not make much difference.
- Picking your fixture, when selecting your light there are hundreds of models on the market and it can be overwhelming, the best advice we can give here is to pick a light which uses an LED chipset which has been specifically designed to grow plants, this will benefit you more than a standard full spectrum light, everything from office lights to underside kitchen lights use full spectrum, but are they designed for growing plants ? the answer is no. When using horticultural specific LED your plants will benefit from a better quality of light and grow faster.
Ok so now we've chosen our light, it's installed and you want to get going, how do we save even further ?
Light Schedules are a great way of saving $$ when growing, do you need your lights on 24 or 18 hours in veg ? or can you run them for 16 hours ? it wont hurt and if you have horticultural specific LED on your fixture you wont notice the difference. Additionally flowering times can be reduced to 11 hours of light rather than 12. If you reduced your veg time by 2 hours a day and flowering time by 1 hour a day you would save over 120 hours of energy consumption over a 3 month grow cycle.
Dimming and light positioning, if you dim your fixture you can move it closer and still get the same PPFD at canopy. Instead of running at 100% at 22 inches, try 50% at 11 inches. it'll be pretty dam close to the same level of light, but you've just cut your running costs by half and reduced heat.
- Dim your light during veg, you only need 10-15w of light per square foot for veg, that's only 240w in a 4x4 space, make use of this and save big, couple it with the tip no.4, reduce power and move your light closer for even bigger savings. You could move your lights to 12 inches and reduce the 240w fixture to 120w and you've just halved you veg cost or more.
By implementing any of the above steps, whether it be changing to LED or fine tuning your light schedule and power you can make a real dent in the rising electricity costs.
We hope these tips are helpful if even to just a few who are struggling with the current cost of energy, there is a way to continue your hobby and there is no need to turn your lights off, just dim them :)