Growing a cannabis business takes a lot of hard work even with the proper tools. One major consideration for growing is the lights to be used in a grow. The choices in lighting systems range from sunshine to normal household light bulbs. Each system has its pros and cons. As the cannabis industry takes off, many growers have pondered which system is right for them. LED lighting has improved growing conditions for plants.
LED lighting is used throughout the industry in clone rooms, vegetation rooms, and greenhouses. LEDs are proving to be safer for the environment, produce high-quality light, and maintain a longer lifespan. Using LED lights can improve a grow’s technology while creating huge financial savings. Using poor-quality lights in a grow can produce poor-quality products, which in turn leaves money on the table. DroLED is a company dedicated to bringing good-quality lighting to its customers.
DroLED CEO Jason Drenner, who has over a decade of experience to rely on, explains the benefits of LED lights.
CannaBiz Journal: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Jason: As an owner, I have been in the commercial/industrial LED lighting industry for approximately a decade. We design, manufacture, consult, and install our products in many verticals such as street lights, parking lights, sports lights, campus and industrial park lighting, and many others.
As an expert in the lighting industry, it was an easy transition from standard LED lighting to LED grow lighting. We started R&D on our LED grow lighting over 3.5 years ago. By utilizing the same industrial-grade platforms and configurations, we developed the premier industrial-grade LED grow light.
CBJ: What is the expected lifespan of the DroLED?
Jason: DroLED expected lifespan is 100,000 hours.
CBJ: How does the lifespan of DroLED compare to more traditional lights?
Jason: The lifespan difference between old burning state grow lights and DroLED is approximately 80–90% longer for DroLED over HID (high-intensity discharge).
CBJ: How often do the bulbs have to be changed while using the DroLED system?
Jason: LED is a solid-state light, which means it doesn’t burn; therefore, it doesn’t burn out.
Standard HPS (high-pressure sodium) or HID light bulbs have to be changed every 10,000 hours or less. Most cultivators change their bulbs every nine months of run times to ensure that the bulb is performing at an optimum.
CBJ: How much energy/cost does DroLED save a grow operation?
Jason: If we are ONLY comparing DroLED with HID lights we are approximately 60% more energy efficient. If you take into consideration the amount of HVAC output it takes to maintain a grow facility to 78–84 degrees, that will increase those total energy savings to roughly 80%.
CBJ: Do DroLED lights warm up a grow room? Please tell us about the benefits in regard to their heat production or lack of heat production.
Jason: There are three primary challenges with HPS lighting: 1) energy consumption of up to 1200W per light, 2) the extreme heat HID bulbs generate, and 3) poor PAR spectrum. Specific to your heat question … HPS is roughly 35% light and 65% heat. DroLED produces a very high 92% light and a measly 8% heat.
In the lighting industry HEAT = WASTE. This is easy to understand when you configure the light fixtures to HVAC ratio. For example: for every 8 HPS 1000W double end will require 5 ton HVAC (8:5 ton) to maintain proper grow temps. Since DroLED has the lowest run temps of any grow light, we can easily reach 40 lights per 5 ton HVAC (40:5 ton).
CBJ: Fluorescent lights contain mercury. Do LED lights contain similar harmful materials? What sort of environmental benefit do LED lights offer?
Jason: As mentioned, LED is a solid-state light and doesn’t burn. Therefore, it doesn’t require toxic gases and heavy metals burning in a glass tube to create light. LED stands for light emitting diode, which glows when an electric current runs through it. All mercury vapor lights like fluorescent bulbs require specific disposal standards due to the mercury.
As OSHA points out, improperly recycling your fluorescent light bulbs may cause harmful mercury exposure. The hazardous metal, mercury, can harm unborn children, impair memory, cause skin irritation, and the list goes on. A separate EPA-funded study found that improper disposal of 200 average CFLs (at 5 mg of mercury each) or 71 standard commercial fluorescent tubes (at 14 mg of mercury each) deposited in a 20-acre lake is enough to contaminate the fish and make them unfit to eat.
CBJ: How does the dimmability feature on LED lights benefit grows? How does the light disbursement of LEDs help plants?
Jason: The famous “dimming” question! While we provide the capability (upon request) of dimming for adamant growers who want to dim their lights, it isn’t recommended. Your plants depend on indoor grow lamps to be operating at 100% in order to get the full benefit of your bulb’s light spectrum. Dimming does more than darken the grow room; it shrinks the overall effectiveness of a custom light spectrum. Light spectrums are specifically designed to provide the right wavelengths of energy for your plants. A dimmed light won’t provide the same exclusive spectral distribution and can change the quality of plant growth. Adjusting heights when needed is a much better way of managing light levels and not dimming.
Light disbursement specific to grow lighting can easily be measured two-fold: 1) footprint (canopy coverage), and 2) PPFD (Photosynthetic photon flux density). DroLED has the largest footprint (coverage area) per watt than any grow light in the world, which means cultivators can easily place more plants per light, increasing the pounds per light harvest, as long as the PPFD is high enough. DroLED has the highest PPFD of any grow light. For example: the PPFD of the sun at high noon is approximately 2000 μmol/m2/s, DroLED GRO8 is 1945 μmol/m2/s at two feet above the canopy, and GRO10 is 2430 μmol/m2/s at two feet above the canopy. Why is PPFD important? For basic understanding, the higher the PPFD, without increasing heat, reaches deep into the canopy and roots with the PAR value (light plant food).
CBJ: Are there any other benefits you would like to talk about in regard to DroLED lights?
Jason: DroLED is the only fully water-submersible IP/67 and Level 17 anti-hurricane proof grow light in the world. It is also the only IK10 level impact resistant light in the world. Simply put … they are industrial-grade and are built to last.
Go to www.droled.com to find more information about DroLED lighting systems. You can even order them online.