How to Pick the Right Grow Lights for Your Greenhouse

Apr 25, 2022

Controlled Environment Agriculture

When it comes to creating an optimized greenhouse and grow room for your plants, you’ll need to carefully consider the building materials and automated systems supporting your space. One of the key components in designing the perfect environment for your plants is your lighting and how it integrates with your other growing systems.

MJM Install offers commercial cannabis growers throughout the United States the opportunity to create a space where both your plants and your business can flourish. Our team of cannabis industry experts understands exactly what’s needed to assemble all of your design materials, from insulated metal wall panels to lighting and rolling benches. We bring more than ten years of experience to every project and can help ensure an increase in crop yields as well as profits.

Types of Grow Lights

The type of lighting you choose for your greenhouse can have a significant impact on plant health, which means it’s essential to choose the lighting option that best supports the future of your business. While grow room lighting prices might seem high upfront, the installations are always an important investment.

Some of the most popular grow lights include:

HPS Lighting

High-intensity discharge (HID) lighting is undoubtedly the most popular choice for cannabis grow rooms and greenhouses. High-pressure sodium and metal halide are the two forms of HID lighting, with each lighting type covering a specific end of the color spectrum. High pressure sodium lighting, otherwise known as HPS lighting, covers wavelengths that emit red light, around 600 to 720nm. For this reason, HPS lighting is ideal for plants currently in the flowering stage.

Metal Halide Lighting

Metal halide lighting covers the blue side of the HID color spectrum with wavelengths ranging from 400 to 500 nm. This range is ideal for cannabis plants in a vegetative state. Both metal halide and HPS lighting can produce a significant amount of heat, so you’ll need to adjust your humidity and temperature controls accordingly.

LED Lighting

LED lighting for grow rooms offers all the colors necessary for growing cannabis and reaches both the UV and IR ends of the spectrum. It’s also a significantly more efficient option than HID lighting with bulbs lasting up to twice as long as HPS and metal halide lighting. In addition, LED fixtures generate much less heat than these other two options, which means you will spend less on temperature and humidity utilities.

CFLs and Incandescents

Fluorescents and incandescents are both low-cost alternatives to traditional grow room lighting fixtures. T5 fluorescents, otherwise known as shop lights, are the most popular of these two options because they cover the most area. However, they cannot support the growth of your plants in the same way as HIDs. For commercial growing operations, it’s best to look at other products unless you’re running on a tight budget.

Understanding the Grow Light Color Spectrum

Blue Lighting (400-500nm)

The ideal color spectrum for cannabis runs between 400 and 720nm and includes both blue and red light. You’ll need to work with different color lighting at different stages of the growth process. Blue and purple lighting, which are on the UV side of the spectrum, makes it easier for the plants to take in more CO2 through their leaves. These colors are ideal for plants in their vegetative state and best promote overall growth between 400 and 500nm.

Red Lighting (600-720nm)

Red lighting is on the other side of the color spectrum and supports cannabis plants during the flowering period by promoting photosynthesis. Most of the time, the ideal lighting wavelength for cannabis is between 600 and 720nm. The far-red light spectrum, beyond 720nm, can sometimes support plant growth in the short term, but its uses are usually limited. Your cannabis grow room lighting is most effective when you’re using an adaptive balance of colors rather than a single wavelength.

6 Things to Know When Selecting Grow Lights for Your Space

To find the best grow lights for your cannabis greenhouse or grow room, you’ll need to consider a handful of factors, from the basics of cost and energy efficiency to integration with your other growing systems. If you’re still not sure which lighting options will be a match for your space, consider scheduling a design consultation with MJM Install today.

1. Energy Efficiency

The energy efficiency of your grow lights can increase overall costs or offer your significant savings. LEDs provide the highest level of energy efficiency, but you’ll need to balance this benefit with their potential for supporting plant growth.

2. Cost and Budget

Remember, grow room lighting is an investment in the future of your growing operation. If you spend more upfront for HPS and metal halide lighting, you might save money in the long run. LEDs are also cost-effective, particularly if you’re looking for an option that brings more variable colors. LEDs are sometimes the best option for smaller grow rooms because they don’t generate as much heat, which means your temperature and humidity controls don’t need to be running as often.

3. Square Footage of Your Space

The square footage and arrangement of your grow space can help determine which lights will work best for your cannabis operation. CFLs and fluorescents often cover the most ground, but high-intensity discharge lighting is the most concentrated. If the size and shape of your canopy size will shift, you’ll need lighting fixtures that accommodate these changes.

4. Blackout Curtains

Greenhouse light deprivation systems and blackout curtains are just as essential to optimizing your indoor growing efforts as your lights. These installations control the amount of natural light your plants receive as they approach harvest.

Curtain systems covering your greenhouse windows from above are usually the most effective option for more extensive, commercial growing spaces, preventing as much light leakage as possible. In some cases, they can also improve your other systems’ energy efficiency because they prevent excess heat from entering the space.

5. Local Climate and Natural Lighting

The amount of natural light that your greenhouse receives throughout the year can directly affect what kind of supplemental lighting you’ll need. In states like Arizona, Colorado, and California, you’ll have plenty of natural lighting on hand, which means you won’t have to worry as much about the energy efficiency of your lights. In states like Maine and New York, however, supplemental lighting becomes all the more important.

6. Integration With Greenhouse Systems

Regardless of which greenhouse or grow room lighting solution you choose, you’ll need to make sure that it integrates with the rest of your growing systems. You’ll need room for trellises, temperature settings to match your fixtures’ heat output, and optimal positional alignments with your rolling benches.

Hiring Greenhouse Lighting and Construction Expertise

If you’re looking for greenhouse and commercial grow room design services, MJM Install is here to help. We’ll be happy to assist you in selecting the proper lighting for your new space and will answer any questions you may have about creating a grow space that supports all of your growing endeavors.

Contact MJM Install today.

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