LED Grow Lights Change the Spectrum of Indoors Gardening

It is inevitable that “green” technology will continue to develop as ecological awareness grows within our global culture. All across the world, forward thinkers in the scientific and engineering communities are developing the technologies of tomorrow, which promise to be cleaner and more efficient, while helping to achieve the sustainability necessary for human survival. One area of technology in which these green advances are already revolutionizing human activity is in artificial lighting and indoor horticulture.

Hydroponics, which is a method in high-tech horticulture where plants grow in soil-free nutrient baths, is a perfect example of how science and technology can work together to develop solutions to human problems. Botanists and researchers have used soil-less growing techniques for centuries, although professional and commercial growers didn’t begin using these methods until the first half of the 20th century. The advent of commercial hydroponics allowed for large-scale indoor horticulture where plants could be grown in a controlled environment without regard to the weather or the season.

Since the 1980s, hydroponic gardening has gained widespread popularity with home gardeners interested in setting up year-round indoor growing spaces. This popularity led to the creation of an entire industry that is responsible for supplying products and services in support of the millions of home hydroponics gardeners around the world. While hydroponic indoor growing is not as difficult as one might think, it does require rather specialized equipment and products to be done correctly, such as pumps, plant racks, a growing medium, ventilation equipment and, most importantly, a proper artificial light source.

Growing indoor plants hydroponically requires light with the proper intensity and spectrum in order for photosynthesis and healthy growth to occur. Because most sources of artificial lighting, such as for the home or office, are insufficient for growing, specialized types of high-intensity lights are traditionally used for inside gardening. These types of high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps create the proper spectrum and intensity of light, but have unfortunate drawbacks for the gardening enthusiast looking to start a home garden. HID lamps are extremely energy-inefficient. Not only do they require bulky reflectors and heavy ballasts, making them hard to mount, but they also produce vast amounts of wasted heat, which in turn requires the use of extensive ventilation systems so as to draw the heat out.

Fortunately for the home gardening enthusiast, there is now an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient alternative to these traditional HID lighting systems that makes setting up a hydroponic system much easier. Over the past decade, advances in light-emitting diode (LED) technology have been slowly revolutionizing indoor hydroponic gardening.

Thanks to extensive research by the likes of NASA and the Russian Space Agency, scientists have developed modern LED lighting technology to serve as a viable alternative to traditional HID systems for hydroponic growing. LED grow lights provide both the proper spectrum and intensity for healthy plant growth at a fraction of the energy cost required by HID lamps. Since LEDs do not produce excess heat, there is a reduced need for ventilation systems for the home garden, cutting costs even further. As an added bonus, LED grow lights do not contain the toxic materials associated with traditional lamps. LEDs are not just super efficient, but they are also good for the environment.

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