Fact or Fiction: Breaking Down the Myths Surrounding Modern LED Grow Lights

LED Grow LIght

Myths belong to sea monsters and fire-breathing dragons, right? Not if you look at the world of modern LED grow lights. Here, fantastic stories abound, most of them so unsubstantiated that they defy explanation. Three of these myths are particularly well-entrenched in the mindset of many contemporary plant growers. And so in the interest of truth, justice, and better gardening, here are the three myths, each accompanied by a clarification that should set the record straight.

Myth 1 – Led Grow Light Technology Isn’t There Yet

This perhaps is the most baffling myth of all, considering LED light bulbs are known for their advanced engineering and technological sophistication. Those utilized to assist with plant propagation certainly live up to this reputation. Modern LED grow lights are precision-engineered to accommodate the specific needs of plant life, thereby providing maximum stimulus for growth and development.

For instance, unlike conventional alternatives, LEDs are engineered to produce light primarily in the blue and red wavelengths. These wavelengths comprise a spectral range known as Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR). Readily absorbed by the chlorophyll in plants, PAR wavelengths have by far the greatest impact on photosynthesis, leaf development, and flowering.

Bulbs that generate additional wavelengths are wasting energy, as the other colors are of very little use to plant life. That’s why leaves are green – unused by plants, light in the green range of the spectrum is reflected not absorbed. The reflected light gives leaves their green appearance.

The technological sophistication of modern LED grow lights also contributes to plant protection. Engineered into every LED bulb is a high-efficiency heat sink, which restricts heat loss. Not only does the minimized heat loss save energy, it saves plants from damaging overexposure to high temperatures.

Myth 2 – The Savings Aren’t Worth the Risk

Thanks to integrated heat sinks and PAR-focused light emission, modern LED grow lights offer gardeners substantial energy efficiency and consequent monetary savings. The savings are furthered by the durability of LEDs, which have an average lifespan of 50,000 – 100,000 hours. Basically, you’ll have about 15 years before bulb replacement becomes a pressing issue. Still, there persists a belief that the obvious long-term savings aren’t worth the risk.

The overriding question here is – what risk? Certainly not in the area of productivity. The superior productive capacity of LED grow lights is well-established. In competition with high pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs, this would be the score: HPS — yield of .5 grams per watt. LEDs, 1g to 1.5g per watt, or up to three times the yield power of HPS. There will always be the fear of trying something new and finding a quality product that won’t damage produce did take some research in the beginning, but now LEDs are sweeping the market. Just remember, a long time ago people faced the same decision with incandescent bulbs.

Myth 3 – Old School Growers Are Hanging onto the Past

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Spurred by the clear-cut advantages of modern LED grow lights, more and more growers are switching to these innovative bulbs. But the changeover isn’t limited to home gardeners. The world at large is going LED.

According to a recent report issued by market research firm MarketsandMarkets, “the LED grow light market is expected to rise to more than $ 1.9 Billion by 2020, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 26.93% between 2015 and 2020.” The report points out that growing usage of LEDs is expected across the board, covering diverse applications such as vertical farming, commercial greenhouse, and indoor farming.

Once the facts are neatly laid out, it’s fairly easy to separate the real story of led grow lights from the fabric of myth. If you’re a plant grower seeking the highest yields at the lowest cost, it’s definitely a story with a happy ending.

Our VividGro® trial or demo program offers growers the opportunity to try the VividGro® fixtures for a limited time in their growing environments. During the trials, a VividGro® Trial Specialist will be assigned to help conduct an experiment to prove your return-on-investment (ROI).


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Using the Light Spectrum to Promote Superior Plant Growth

LED Grow Lights

The popularity of LED grow lights is climbing at a brisk pace. The reason for the rapidly increasing acceptance of these bulbs boils down to one critical factor – results. When stacked up against other types of indoor electric lighting solutions, LED grow lights outperform the competition in a number of key areas. One of the most notable of these areas is yield. Time and time again, harvests are much larger when stimulated by the nourishing illumination of LEDs.

But Isn’t All Light the Same?

To the casual observer, yes. But that’s just the human point of view. Ordinary light, such as that provided by the sun, actually is comprised of different wavelengths collectively known as the light spectrum. Each component wavelength in the spectrum produces its own color. When these varying hues are combined, as they are in sunlight, they appear to us as ordinary white light.

Plants, however, are very good at distinguishing between the different spectral colors. And they alone decide which ones they want.

When it comes to leaf development and flowering, blue and red light is by far the most useful. These are the wavelengths absorbed and utilized in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert sunlight energy into food. Other spectral wavelengths often are rejected — they’re simply of no value. The green color of leaves actually is a reflection of rejected green spectrum light.

Blue light is particularly useful to tall, leafy plants, as this wavelength stimulates vegetative growth. Red light, on the other hand, is best for flowering and fruit-bearing plants. Clearly, you’ll want to align light color with the type of plant being cultivated. LED grow lights enable you to create this alignment with ease.

LED Grow Lights: Here’s to the Red and Blue

When you consider the spectral preferences of plants, it seems only logical that indoor lighting solutions focus on red and blue wavelengths. But only LED grow lights incorporate the advanced technology necessary to accommodate these spectral preferences. Other lighting solutions, such as High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights, generally produce the entire visible spectrum of light. When these bulbs are employed, the wavelengths not utilized by plants automatically become wasted energy. That kind of inefficiency easily translates to higher energy bills and lower yields – less usable light means less nourishment to support plant growth.

By focusing on red and blue light required for flowering and vegetation, LED grow lights give plants exactly what they need to thrive. They also give gardeners, both professional and casual, the most energy-saving, cost-efficient indoor lighting solution on earth. Whether you’re nurturing a winter vegetable garden, an indoor floral display, or a botanical masterpiece, these innovative bulbs definitely promise the best results for plants and humans.

Our VividGro® trial or demo program offers growers the opportunity to try the VividGro® fixtures for a limited time in their growing environments. During the trials, a VividGro® Trial Specialist will be assigned to help conduct an experiment to prove your return-on-investment (ROI).


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Style a Master Bedroom as a Sleep Retreat

MAY 2016 | BY BARBARA BALLINGER
There’s big buzz these days about the importance of getting enough Z’s for health, happiness, and productivity. Help clients analyze if a master bedroom can incorporate all the essentials to promote a good night’s sleep.

 

a1Adults spend more time in their bedroom than in any other room in their house. But you wouldn’t know it from the home sales process. Buyers and sellers alike often pay more attention to kitchens, master bathrooms, closets, and yards than they do to this vital space where they will usually spend more than a third of their 24 hours each day.

“Who spends that kind of time in the kitchen?” asks sleep expert Nancy H. Rothstein, founder of The Sleep Ambassador in Chicago, an online source for education, consulting services, and resources that optimize healthy sleep.

Yet more attention is being paid to the importance of getting adequate sleep, from high-profile advocates like Arianna Huffington, who recently published her book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time (Harmony, 2016), to medical professionals. “Fewer than six hours [a night] can lead to diseases — a higher rate of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular problems, and even shorter life spans,” says Dr. Susheel Patil, clinical director of Johns Hopkins Sleep Medicine in Baltimore.

While there’s no magic figure for the amount of sleep one should get, Patil suggests adults try for seven to eight hours on average. Dr. Michael Breus, a board-certified sleep specialist in Los Angeles known as The Sleep Doctor, uses his household as an example of the variation. “I need between 6 1/2 and 7 hours while my wife needs between 8 and 8 1/2,” he says.

Buyers and sellers alike should strive to furnish a master bedroom that contributes to high-quality sleep. Updating or remodeling the room offers another benefit, says certified color consultant Michelle Mohlere, a salesperson with Gibson International in Los Angeles. A nicely designed bedroom is likely to bring in more money at resale than one without these touches, she says.

Sellers looking to better stage this room will also gain from the following six steps:

1. Stage the bed in a choice spot. Connecticut architect and author Duo Dickinson prefers the bed be set away from the room’s entrance to keep it out of the main circulation path. Kathryn Baker, vice president of design services with Polaris Pacific, a real estate sales and marketing firm in San Francisco, likes to place a bed in a spot so occupants can enjoy the best view — whether that’s inside (maybe toward a fireplace or favorite piece of art) or outdoor (with views of trees or water where possible). Chicago designer Michael Del Piero suggests pairing a bed with an upholstered headboard for those who like to sit up in bed and read; she dresses up the bed with decorative pillows, a duvet, and a throw to personalize it and make it more welcoming to tuck in for sleep.

Encourage Buyers to Find Their Right Mattress

Dr. Michael Breus says sleep should be considered a performance activity like running, and, as in any activity, the equipment matters. “I can do a race wearing flip-flops, but my time won’t be as good,” he says. “It’s the same thing with sleep. If I have the right mattress and room setting, I’ll sleep much better.” In his bookThe Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep (Rodale, 2011), he notes that the right kind of support varies by sleep position, challenges like snoring or back pain, and temporary conditions such as pregnancy.

Today, there’s a dizzying array of mattress options. Some retailers continue to compete with traditional brick-and-mortar stores under the assumption that customers still want to test-drive choices. But new companies such as Tuft & Needle, Casper, and Brentwood Home sell online — often employing lower prices and flexible return programs.

Home owners may be happy to learn they don’t have to spend thousands of dollars for bells and whistles, bespoke construction, and high-end materials such as cashmere; there’s no scientific proof that greater expense yields better sleep. Instead, Breus suggests reading about different mattress options, narrowing selections to a few, and heading to a store with your own pillow to test each, duplicating your favorite sleep positions. In the end, the process may be more akin to buying a house than you’d think; the right mattress should work for each person and their budget.

2. Install the right window treatments. Minimal is the design mantra when it comes to much of the standard room décor today. But while no coverings in some rooms, such as kitchens and living rooms, allows in more light and views, some amount of treatment in a bedroom is needed to block outside light and provide privacy. Del Piero likes to use a blackout shade behind a transparent shade or drapes or a woven wood shade with blackout drapes. Baker favors motorized shades to make opening and closing a task that can be performed from the bed or set by a timer.

c700x4203. Use the right lighting. Dickinson discourages installing recessed cans since they chop up a ceiling and aren’t attractive to look at while in bed. He prefers task lighting from lamps on night tables or wall-mounted sconces. Michigan designer Francesca Owings likes hanging one decorative fixture in a ceiling’s center for an aesthetic punch. Sensitive sleepers might appreciate the new Good Night Biological LED bulbs that claim to help regulate a body’s natural circadian rhythm through the production of the hormone melatonin, which helps control sleep and wake patterns, says Breus.

4. Conceal or banish electronics. For years, scientists and health professionals have known about the danger of the blue light that comes from certain electronics equipment and adversely affects melatonin production, says Patil. But only recently have they suggested that you can enhance unwinding and falling asleep by turning off TVs, smartphones, and iPads at least an hour before bedtime. Shutting them off also helps train the brain that the bedroom is primarily a place to sleep rather than stay awake, Patil says. If the temptation is too great, home owners might consider making the master bedroom a no-electronics zone. Baker’s company furnishes model bedrooms in its residential projects without TVs and other electronics technology to demonstrate this idea. “People have responded favorably, and some put TVs in a second bedroom or home office” instead, she says.

5. Pick a soothing palette. Of course, color is a personal preference, but color experts can offer guidelines. “You can’t say one is soothing for all and will make a person feel calm,” says Jessica Boyer, a Chicago designer with Susan Fredman Design Group. Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams, says colors that aren’t extreme are more restful. “They’re neither too bold, dark, bright, or intense. Rather, soft and calming,” she says. Designer Kimba Hills of Rumba Style in Los Angeles prefers a palette of pale blues, greens, beiges, grays, and whites for the bedroom. Boyer also likes to bring in bedding in white and light creams because she finds they’re calming. “It’s the equivalent of sleeping in a cloud with nothing to distract me. What’s important isn’t what’s trendy but nurturing,” she says.

6. Add creature comforts. If the room’s size allows, consider adding a chaise, chair and ottoman, and night tables. Also, a large area rug or wall-to-wall carpeting can help deaden noise and provide warmth underfoot, says Owings. If the room is located so it opens directly to the outdoors, play this up. Mohlere says real access to bucolic scenery can contribute to a sense of tranquility even more than just viewing the outdoors can. If outdoor access isn’t possible, check to see that windows are operable for fresh air. Other amenities worth considering: a gas- or log-burning fireplace for coziness, artwork for eye candy, and good storage for tidiness. “Too much clutter is distracting,” Rothstein says.

At the end of the day — or the beginning of a new one — real estate pros can emphasize the master bedroom as one more “fabulous room where you spend time in your new home,” Rothstein says.

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Could LED Lights Help Fight The Zika Virus?

MAY 18, 2016, 11:00 AM EDT – by Corinne Iozzio   @CorinneIozo

mos-06-01-16-mosquito

As mosquito-borne illnesses spread, one company hopes finely tuned lights can keep them in check.

It’s difficult to blame any single factor for the rapid spread of diseases like the Zika virus and dengue fever. One thing on which experts can agree, however, is that warmer temperatures around the globe are helping tropical insects survive in temperate zones. About 4 billion people are at risk of mosquito-borne infectious disease today, according to the World Health Organization. More hospitable conditions for the insects could push that figure to as high as 9 billion by the end of the century.

But blanketing our population centers in toxic bug sprays and pesticides isn’t exactly a comforting solution. Lighting Science Group, a Florida company that specializes in the application of light-emitting diode (LED) technology, thinks it has a better way. The company is part of a growing field of research that seeks to control pests using light.

LEDs have matured a lot from the cold, blue diodes of the 1980s. “With LEDs, the great promise is control,” says Travis Longcore, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California who studies the effect of light on insects. “It’s control on illumination, on timing, on spectrum.” For Lighting Science, that approach has led to highly tuned LEDs that disinfect water, keep astronauts on alert, and steer infant sea turtles away from highways. The effort is all about finding the perfect light to attract—and distract—insects.

Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s entomology lab in Gainesville, Fla., Lighting Science began testing its light-based bug traps this spring. “There is room for improvement in existing trapping technology,” says USDA research entomologist Daniel Kline. He’s specifically interested in the idea of targeting insects associated with diseases like Zika and malaria.

To that end, the traps follow a simple principle: Different bugs—even different mosquito species—are attracted to different light wavelengths. “There is no one size fits all,” says Fred Maxik, Lighting Science’s chief technology officer. With the traps placed in the USDA’s controlled mosquito habitats, he’ll be able to pinpoint the light that will draw in specific insects.

Traps with LEDs tuned for certain species (Zika, for instance, is linked to the Aedes aegypti mosquito) will eventually be field-tested. A consumer version should follow within a year. Maxik hopes ultimately to create a smart trap that can sense which bugs are nearby (thanks to a low-resolution camera that identifies critters by criteria like size and wing-flapping speed) and tally what it traps.

For more on the Zika virus, read “What Zika Will Cost in the U.S.“

On the flip side, learning how to attract bugs also tells Lighting Science how to distract them, which could prevent smart traps from capturing innocuous butterflies and honeybees. Above all, the knowledge will help the company make light fixtures that steer bugs away from offices, homes, schools, and hospitals. Says Maxik: “We’re trying to create light that’s useful for our own purposes.”

A version of this article appears in the June 1, 2016 issue of Fortune with the headline “Into the Light.”

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