Designing Grow Lights For Power Savings

Experienced growers know that electricity costs are one of the biggest cost inputs into raising a garden indoors from seed. One of the important design goals we have in our indoor growing spaces is the ability to only use the lighting that we absolutely need at a given time.

Where we’re at, our electrical costs are exceptionally high. We definitely see the power bump of running indoor grow lighting on our bills, even though we’ve invested into the most efficient LED lighting possible. Taking an extra step to design your timers and such so that you can control individual lights can be an important goal to save on input costs.

It’s not insignificant savings and the ROI can be surprisingly quick in high energy cost areas. (This is also true when it comes to investing into LED lighting over traditional CFL or incandescent lighting, too.) If you don’t want to go so far as using unique timers or outlets, you can simply unplug any lights that aren’t directly benefitting your plants.

We continually change our lighting footprint throughout the season. Some of our lights are less expensive to operate, some are more expensive. We’ll often shift our plants around to minimize the needed lighting footprint or to utilize the least expensive lighting (operationally) that we have. We want to be running the least number of lights needed at a given time. We scale up and down as needed through the indoor growing season.

This is also one of the reasons we’re so eager to get our plants out into our heated greenhouse as soon as possible, once conditions allow. We’ll talk about this more later, but we basically found that heating costs in an optimally insulated greenhouse is much less than operating indoor grow lights. (To a certain point, that is, it’s never cheap to heat into very cold temperatures.)

So, if you’re looking to penny pinch your way into growing a garden from seed indoors, definitely integrate a smart lighting plan into your efforts!

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