Light emitting diode (LED) grow lighting sources assist in the growing of plants indoors because their basic electronic structure can be engineered to provide the exact lighting spectrum needed to optimize the growth and flowering of plants. This spectrum of blue, orange and red was originally developed by NASA to efficiently grow plants on the international space station. Astronauts needed to produce their own food because of some of the long stays on the ISS and for research in sustainable food production on trips to other planets. The engineers of NASA invented the LED lighting source that is super efficient (used less electricity), produces a low amount of heat and creates the exact bandwidth for plants to grow and produce food.
Most lighting industry experts are confident that LED lighting will begin to replace all other lighting sources including compact fluorescents. One of the world’s largest lighting manufacturers has stopped all research and development into any other light sources except solid state lighting which is the category LED lights fall under. This company alone is investing 5% of their current revenues into research in solid state lighting.
Here are some of the benefits of utilizing LED lights to grow plants of all types:
– LED Grow Lights are very efficient in transforming electricity into light. This means that LED’s use up to 80% of the energy used to create light. In comparison, incandescent lights efficiency is at around 5%. This efficiency produces less heat and a high watt to lumen ratio.
– LED grow lights have a lower heat signature and are less likely to burn leaves. Conventional plant lighting creates high temperature zones under the hood which will burn leaves and flowers if the plant is placed too close to the bulb.
– The minimum heat produced by LED’s and efficient use electricity allows people living in small homes, offices or apartments easier access to the indoor gardening world. In a small space, such as a closet or basement corner, they can grow large amounts of organic food affordably all year long without concerns of climate or available outdoor space.
– LED’s produce low or no UV light because of how the light is designed and manufactured. Most other legacy lighting sources produce a broad spectrum of light that a plant does not use efficiently. Legacy types of grow lights do have a more focused spectrum but produce a lighting spectrum that goes into the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum which can be harmful to plants and people.
– LED lights produce a directional cone of light that sends light in a measurable direction. A standard bulb heats a filament and or gas to create light. This type of lighting goes in all directions making the use of hoods and reflectors necessary to direct the light to the plants. The average angle of light coming from a LED grow light is 120 degrees compared to 360 degrees in conventional lighting.