Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) is recognized as Canada’s leader in horticulture research and innovation. Located in Ontario’s Niagara region, on a 218-acre campus, they are an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing horticulture science. The campus is comprised of research laboratories, farms and greenhouses and focuses on a variety of areas―including plant genomics, consumer insights, automation and biocontrol.
Having the most efficient horticultural technology is important for furthering the success of their research and is why they turned to P.L. Light Systems when retrofitting their older greenhouse complex. Their goal was to retrofit their existing 400W magnetic ballast HPS luminaires, with reliable and highly efficient 600W electronic ballast HPS luminaires. Due to the low ceiling height of the greenhouses, they installed the NXT-LP luminaire with Alpha reflectors, designed specifically for low ceiling applications to maximize space.
We spoke with lead grower, James Toivonen, who noted that the retrofit process was made easy by the fast and professional communications of the sales team. With the lighting plan, it made the entire installation process straightforward and trouble-free, and the integrated level on the side of the luminaires, made it simple to ensure the lights were always correctly oriented. The light plan was also a great tool to allow for tailoring light levels to the different crops they grow, while making efficient use of the lighting to avoid wasting energy. A light plan is a calculation of the best possible coordination of luminaires (in terms of their distance and orientation from one another, as well as the crop), to achieve optimal light intensity and uniformity.
The old luminaire installation above had inconsistent light levels, with more luminaires compared to the new installation below, which now has less luminaires but improved light levels, uniformity and quality.
Improved light levels, uniformity and plant performance
A downside to their old luminaire installation, was that it had inconsistent light levels and poor uniformity over the crop. Poor light uniformity can lead to plants drying out at different times, and having some plants developing faster while others slower. Therefore, it was important for Vineland that, despite their limited ceiling height, they achieve high uniformity over the crop. With the new NXT-LP with alpha reflectors, they were surprised to see complete uniformity over the canopy when using a light meter. One of the amazing things about retrofitting is that you can achieve greater light levels, uniformity and energy efficiencies with fewer luminaires thanks to the efficiency of the NXT-LP and design of the reflectors. Having high light uniformity leads to greater plant productivity and makes it easy to balance other environmental parameters in the greenhouse.
One of Vineland’s projects has focused on breeding hardy roses for the Canadian market, and they are seeing improved plant performance, growth and uniformity under the new luminaires. Based on different research projects, their team can be growing any number of plants such as tropicals, sweet potato, legumes, grain crops and ornamentals―so having a reliable lighting system, suitable for a wide variety of crops, is important for their success. They also note that the light quality has improved, with the new luminaires having a much cleaner and crisper look as opposed to the “smoggy” look of the older lamps.
To maintain the highest performance of your luminaires, it’s important to perform cyclical maintenance such as cleaning the reflectors. The old 400W luminaires required a lot of extra maintenance to maintain optimum PAR levels, and Vineland was constantly having to replace failed luminaires. With P.L. Light System’s easy-to-clean reflectors and simple-to-install lamps, re-lamping and yearly cleaning has been made much easier for their team so they can maintain peak luminaire performance for years to come.
As research projects and programs ramp up in the coming months, they are excited to see how the new luminaires will improve overall plant performance and growth, as well as help them save on energy costs and maintenance.
For more information:
P.L. Light Systems
4800 Hinan Dr.
Canada L0R 1B1