Consider Light Uniformity When Hanging Your Grow Lights
Getting an even amount of light to all of your plants simply means your plants will also grow evenly. Otherwise known as light uniformity, this even distribution of photons is a vital part of any growth strategy.
Why is Light Uniformity Beneficial For Your Business?
Uniform light distribution ensures:
More consistent crop quality
An easier time managing your grow environment
Although a couple of these benefits seem less tangible, they all contribute to more consistent plant products, which in turn gain a better brand name for your business. The most consistent plant products are desired by consumers and, therefore, can be used to better profit your operation through more robust retailer relationships.
First, let’s consider the dimensions of your grow room, including crop canopy, perimeters, benches, racks, and aisles. We’ll only be optimizing light uniformity for your crop canopy. Any light that falls into your corridors or shines on other equipment will be lost. Worse yet, you’ll continue to pay for this light loss with high energy bills.
Some find it easier to think of hanging their light fixtures as installing irrigation systems. If you had overhead sprinklers that sprayed water all over the place, that wouldn’t be an efficient use of water, and would be downright messy!
Now that you understand how vital light uniformity can be, we’ll want to plan for the right amount of coverage for your crop canopy.
Learning how to hang your LED grow lights is an excellent start towards creating the most productive light environment for your horticulture business. Though many growers get it wrong.
When learning how to hang your grow lights the right way, you should:
Consider light uniformity before hanging your grow lights
Put together a grow light plan
Determine your grow light hang height
Ensure efficient grow light installation
This article will help you save time and money when hanging your grow lights, and hopefully provide peace of mind that you’re on the right track.
Ensure efficient grow light installation
Most commercial cultivators hire electrical contractors to install their grow lights. This can be a significant added expense.
Our TopLight and BarLight grow lights reduce this expense by coming standard with quick-connects to easily install or replace LED grow lights with minimal help from an electrician.
Also, it is crucial to give your professional grow light plan to your electrician so you can minimize labor and materials. Electricians can use your light plan to map out their installation beforehand, saving time that would be spent figuring it out on-site.
Put Together a Grow Light Plan
A grow light plan will give you an idea of how many grow light fixtures you need for your space and can help you calculate the best hanging strategy for your grow lights.
For commercial growers, it’s essential that you get a professional light plan before you hang your lights. A professional light plan takes into consideration your crop canopy and target light intensity
Grow Light Coverage Area Calculator
To calculate the coverage area per grow light fixture, you’ll need to know the light output (PPF) for your light fixture, and your target light intensity at your crop canopy (PPFD).
The equation goes: Light output of the fixture (measured in µmol/s) ÷ Desired light intensity at plant canopy (measured in μmol·m−2·s−1) = Coverage area per grow light fixture (measured in m2).
Example: 1800 µmol/s per fixture (PPF of a sample LumiGrow fixture) ÷ 800 μmol·m−2·s−1 = 2.25 m2 (Coverage area per grow light fixture).
This equation is only for estimate purposes, we always recommend a professional LumiGrow light plan be made to accurately estimate light intensities, as results may vary.
How Far Should Grow Lights Be From Plants?
This is a common question when deciding how to hang your grow lights. Though, hang height is only a minor factor in planning lighting for commercial spaces.
Surprisingly, how close your grow lights are to your plants has little to no effect on the amount of light your crops receive in a large space because the light beams overlap.
Again, think about light as water pouring from your ceiling. The higher the source of water won’t affect the amount of water that hits your plants.
The difficulty when thinking about how high to hang your lights comes when considering your walls and aisles.
Determine Your Grow Light Hang Height
Every environment has unique challenges that a good light plan can mitigate. For instance, low ceilings and small crop canopies can experience bad uniformity. This lack of uniformity results in what horticultural lighting experts call “hotspots.”
High ceilings often have the opposite problem of losing too much light to the walls and aisles, called the “edge effect”. Many growers are familiar with the edge effect because crops along the edge of the canopy often differ in quality and yield less compared to the rest of the canopy.
Recommending the right distance between your grow lights and plants is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The best thing to do is to contact your LED grow light company for these recommendations.
At LumiGrow, we mitigate any hotspots or edge effects in our commercial grow light plans.
If you’re working with a small canopy, the best recommendation we can give is to reduce your light spacing from the calculation above by 15%. This should be adequate for reducing any edge effect due to the higher ratio of walls and floor space to plant canopy.
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