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Horticultural Lighting Upgrades

Lighting in horticultural settings and cannabis cultivation is key to the success of your crops — that’s a universal truth. As LED lighting becomes more sophisticated and industry professionals learn new skills for optimizing those LEDs, best practices are also adjusted. If you’ve made the recent decision to upfit your system, these are the decisions to keep in mind.

Try Before You Buy

As tempting as it sounds, don’t go all-in on LED lighting upgrades right out of the gate. Try a few lights on one or two plants in a controlled environment and track the results over time. If you haven’t used LEDs before in your growth process, it’s important to know how factors like air temperature and color change after an upfit. When one option doesn’t work, you can easily (and inexpensively) try something new without ruining high volumes of plants.

Plan For A Marathon

Unless you’re building a brand new cultivation facility from the ground up, it’s likely that you’ll face multi-stage upgrades. It could take months or even years to fully replace all of the lighting in your facility, and you need to have a blueprint with milestones to track progress. Team players need to communicate frequently to ensure that lighting distributors and installers understand the big picture. Don’t rush the process; getting it right the first time saves you from downtime or reduced crop yield.

Take Advantage Of Rebates

Another benefit of working with experienced lighting vendors is their experience in finding rebates for customers. Beyond that, the utility company you work with will be able to tell you about local rebate options. Look into other tax benefits for making your commercial facility more energy-efficient, and use these savings as a tool to show investors and stakeholders during conversations about operating costs.

Take The Switch Seriously

Large-scale facilities often have plants at different places in the growth cycle, and it can be a monumental task to schedule lightweight upfits to LED fixtures. Take this seriously; as a cultivation expert you know how important it is to optimize the rollout. Plan ahead, account for downtime if necessary, and do what you can to protect your product while the work is being done. LED lighting upfits don’t happen overnight; it’s more complex than changing out a lightbulb.

Adjust Other Systems, Too

Work with a structural engineer to assess the condition of your electrical and HVAC systems before you finalize an LED upgrade plan. Load numbers and air temperature will be directly impacted by the change from traditional to LED lights, and you may need to perform repairs or maintenance in other areas of your building to accommodate your new LEDs.

Know Lighting Design Principles

While each cultivation facility has different, unique lighting needs, there are some universal principles that help make the most of your system:

  1. Determine your target-level light intensity.
  2. Position lights to maintain even intensity across the canopy.
  3. Buy a quantum sensor.
  4. The shape of your growing space matters.
  5. Don’t underestimate the cost of obstructions.
  6. Light-intensity variation is often lower toward the center of a room and increases as you move toward the perimeter.
  7. Understand that the plants will do some work for you.
  8. Understand the Inverse Square Law.

Know The Big Names

When it comes to horticultural lighting, Growlite® is leading the way. The manufacturer offers specialized lights for each growth stage of cannabis cultivation and the lights are finely tuned to deliver the correct light spectrum balanced with optimum energy efficiency. Growlite® has its own ballast, they have their own lamp, and they have their own reflector. While these products can be sold in a combo, Growlite® is also unique in the sense that each of these components may be sold separately.

Upfitting your grow lights to LED fixtures is no small feat, and cultivators at any stage of the game should invest in outside help to make sure it goes smoothly. Our Horticultural Lighting Specialists at Starbeam are known for their hard work keeping up with all of the latest lighting industry innovations and trends. One of the hottest trends over recent years is horticultural lighting, likely fueled by changes in state cannabis laws across the country.

Ready to learn more about how to get the most from your horticultural lighting investment? Call us and we will connect you with one of our in-house horticultural lighting specialists. They will help you get the most yield from the perfect balance of quality fixtures, low maintenance, and efficient energy consumption.