LED vs Conventional Lighting – Which One is Best for Indoor Farming?

It’s not just your body that has to adjust for daylight savings. In the past, farmers used to struggle during winter months when the hours of daylight were insufficient for plant growth. Light-emitting diode (LED) technology has given farmers new options. They can now choose to grow around the clock with lighting fixtures. Because of their ability to more accurately customize the spectra of light they emit, LED technology has becoming the standard in indoor farming and other controlled horticultural environments.

Advancements in agricultural production, including indoor farming, are a crucial component in the effort to meet the rapidly growing, projected global demand for nutritious food in the second half of the 21st century. Still, just as in outdoor agricultural settings, successful indoor plant growth depends on several environmental variables. These factors include: ambient temperature, water quality and lighting conditions. Additionally, individual plant types require a unique combination of each of these variables to help ensure optimal growth.

What Are the Benefits of LEDs?

Overall, LED lighting fixtures are very energy efficient, making them an environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional lighting. More importantly, many aspects of the light emitted by LEDs are, in theory, infinitely adjustable. So, what does this mean for indoor farming? Characteristics, such as photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), photosynthetic photon intensity distribution (PPID) and spectral quantum distribution (SQD) are lighting performance variables that can be adjusted to create a custom lighting “recipe” unique to each crop. Because of this, LED lighting fixtures support the development of an optimal indoor environment helping to maximize growth and production yields beyond comparison to conventional lighting.

Source: “DLC’s Testing & Reporting Requirements for LED-based Horticultural Lighting.” TÜV SÜD America.

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