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How to optimize your lighting for cannabis cultivation

January 9, 2019

Cultivating cannabis within an indoor growing facility is an excellent way to gain complete control over the environmental factors that influence success.
From soil and water intake to airflow and lighting strategies – each of these factors work together in creating the perfect growing conditions for a profitable yield.
In the process of photosynthesis, plants use the light from the sun to transform carbon dioxide and water into growth-sustaining food.
With the innovation of technology, cultivators have been able to use a variety of indoor lighting techniques to manipulate and enhance the success of their cannabis crops.
As light is the core of plant health and development, the following indoor lighting tips will help you optimize plant growth and maximize potential revenue!

SELECTING THE BEST GROW LIGHTS:

The indoor cultivators of today have far more lighting options than ever before.
When it comes to quality, efficiency, cost and spatial coverage however, it is important to know what you are working with.
While high-intensity discharge lamps (HID) have been the grow lights of choice since the early 1990’s, technology has evolved to offer far more cost-efficient options to choose from.

However, do not let these cheap and easy-to-find options (such as the popular high-pressure sodium [HPS] lights) fool you. Despite their low start-up costs, these lighting options actually generate more heat and energy consumption in the long run!
In fact, one of the most expensive fixed costs for commercial cannabis cultivators have been the electrical bill for running dozens of 600W HPS fixtures.
As a result, many commercial growers have transitioned into 300-400W LED replacements that have been able to reduce electricity costs with roughly 33% less energy consumption.
Although the initial purchase price may be a bit higher than the traditional options, LED lights make up the difference by reducing long-term operating expenses, generating less heat and eliminating the need for bulb replacements. Additionally, LED lights provide a flexibility in programmable colour options suitable for the different stages of growing.

SETTING UP A LIGHTING SCHEDULE:

New cannabis cultivators often overlook the benefits of a manipulated lighting schedule.
With a few strategic tricks, the combination of lighting and light deprivation can greatly influence the success of your crops during the different phases of growing.
For example, a typical lighting schedule may look something like 18 hours on and 6 hours off during the vegetative period, or perhaps a 12-12 schedule for plants that are in the flowering phase.
Additionally, cultivators have found that by gradually decreasing their lighting timer by 10 minutes each week until harvest, they can simulate the natural shortening of days experienced in the fall and encourage their plants to speed up production.
Referred to as Light Deprivation or the “Diminishing Light” technique, growers can shorten their production cycles while simultaneously saving on electricity bills!

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSISTENCY:

With the large variety of cannabis strains, many of them will require their own special tweaks and lighting preferences for optimal success.
As much of this requires a process of trial-and-error, you will want to make sure that your efforts are properly recorded so that you can recreate the “sweet spot” for profitability and consistency of product. To accomplish this, cultivators are using a quantum sensor that measures the Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD) to determine exactly how much light intensity they are providing their crops at any given time. This consistency in light intensity will allow cultivators to better define and dial in their standard operating protocols to help them achieve maximum yield, increased revenue, and provide their consumers with a consistent product experience.

INTERESTED IN BUILDING/RENOVATING A CANNABIS CULTIVATION FACILITY? LET’S TALK BUILD IT BY DESIGN EXPERTS AT (905) 696-0486 OR [email protected] FOR MORE DETAILS.

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