Energy Efficient Grow Lighting

Fluorescent lighting systems typically produce less heat than high pressure sodium or metal halide lighting, typically provide much better Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) than high pressure sodium lamps. The major limiting factor in their use is the intensity of the light and thus the way light diminishes from its source in accordance with the inverse square law.

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This means Fluorescent lighting has its limitations in that it is best for seedling/propagation stage through to vegetative cycles where plants are shorter and require a cool climate. Fluorescent lighting systems are also utilised to great effect by hobby growers in small spaces or as supplementary light in mid to large grows, as a supplement to the overall light spectrum. Fluorescent lamps for horticulture typically come in either a cool white at approx 6500k or warmer red at 2700 kelvin. LED Lighting systems have flooded the horticultural lighting market in the last ten years.

Progrow have observed and tested various LED systems over the years, it has been a flooded market and perhaps is fair to say flooded with products offering the holy grail of all your lighting requirements but in reality falling way short on quality in the main. With that considered Progrowʼs endorsement of LED lighting systems has been tentative compared to other U.K retailers. Recent developments in growing particularly in the U.S provide an excellent reference point for the effectiveness of LED lighting systems (The limiting factor is also the power of the the light source and its diminishing rate.) Heliospectras excellent lighting systems really do offer a glimpse of the future of horticultural lighting, their systems being used extensively as replacement fittings for 1000w conventional systems in industrial size grows. A major advantage is the efficiency of the Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) produced by LED Lighting systems over that of conventional HPS systems. Providing a much more plant specific light spectrum than the high end red of High pressure sodium lamps and deeper blues into UV manufacturers are able to mimic the ideal lighting for the type of plants they wish to grow.

Fluorescent Hydroponic Grow Lights
Typically suited for young plant growth on to vegetative stage, Fluorescent lighting systems utilising High powered T5 lamps have become the preference for hydroponic growers. A Fluorescent lighting system will pretty much illuminate the space below it effectively to produce vigorous vegetative growth. Lamps are typically positioned approx 100-200mm above the canopy after a ‘hardening offʼ stage (small plants from a propagation environment need gradual introduction to the vegetative phase and lights should initially be positioned 300- 400 mm above the plants moving them down to an optimum over a period of a few days). T5 lamps are supplied in either 2ft or 4 ft fittings of 24 watts and 54 watts output respectively, from trusted manufacturers such as Maxibright and Lightwave. Since T5 CFL Grow lights appearance on the market, they have sold consistently well to growers utilising small spaces or those wishing to add supplementary blue or red light to their indoor grow room/tent. CFL Lamp sizes are either 125 watt, 200w and 250 watt with a choice of predominantly Red Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) spectrum at around 2100k – 2700k or Blue PAR spectrum at around 6500k. CFL Lamps are supplied with specific CFL reflectors suited to their size and weight, a good reflector essential to the efficiency of a CFL Lighting system.

LED Hydroponic Grow Lights
It is hard to think of another technological advancement that has had such an impact on the indoor Horticultural world as that of LED lighting. When the head of Phillips research and developments states that it is ‘of the futureʼ its potential cannot be ignored. From a market flooded with cheap basic LED systems research and development alongside growers has today clearly shown the benefits of LED lighting for indoor horticulturalists. The first LEDs on the market were limited in the colour of diode meaning lighting units could only produce PAR light in either blue, red or white spectrums. With advancements now, LED manufacturers such as Heliospectra are able to provide precise light patterns utilising a special blend of blue, red, far red and white diodes, that can be tailored for any individual type of plant growth whilst sufficiently illuminate an area up to 1.2 m2. If you have grown with conventional high Pressure sodium lamps you will see how differently plants grow under a more refined Photosynthetically active radiation pattern, undoubtedly growing more healthily with better overall development particularly in relation to beneficial oils within the plants. Developments such as ‘Chip on boardʼ COB LEDS overcame the typically small light source emitted from a single diode LED. COB LEDʼs are packed together into a single module giving the appearance of a panel of light as opposed to an individual small bulb.

LED Lighting represents a major investment and as such should be considered carefully, the returns on power gained by their efficiency rely on long term use, thus a quality well made unit is very important. We find the better units have replacement parts and good heat syncs to dissipate unwanted heat. Our Spectrum King LED light system is also engineered for larger grow room
environments and as such is not recommended for those growing in 2m high growth tents. We also supply smaller units from LUMii, Telos and Sanlight, these have all been tested by us in store and we believe we can now confidently bring you a range of the best LED lighting available.