The cannabis industry has moved out of the basement and into the light, and with this shift in politics and regulation occurring worldwide comes the need for growers to change the way they think about lighting and energy consumption.
Greenhouse growing, because it relies in part on the sun, can result in lower energy bills compared to indoor growing, and is becoming a popular alternative to traditional indoor growth facilities. When the industry first got the green light to cultivate medical marijuana commercially, two types of High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps were used—High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Pulse Start Metal Halide (PSMH)—mainly because these were what was readily available. Most growers are still using these lamps, but growers are becoming aware of the fact that an even more energy and cost-efficient alternative is available in the form of LED lighting.
Why use supplemental lighting in a greenhouse?
Greenhouse growing is highly automated. Growers maintain precise control over the environment (e.g. temperature, humidity, air-quality, lighting, etc…). With the cannabis plant on a 12-hour photosynthesis cycle, it is critical in certain seasons and geographical locations to make up for lost daylight hours and light intensity—the sun might shine brightly in Washington state 14 hours a day in the summer, but the rest of the year supplemental lighting can be a necessity.