LED Lighting for Urban Farming

- Jun 25, 2019-

To the extent that farming involves the conversion of one type of energy into another, LED lighting for urban farming allows for a very efficient energy conversion over other artificial lighting sources. Indoor farming operations had traditionally used high-pressure sodium (“HPS”) lamps which, while effective, are less efficient than LED lights. LED urban farming systems can generate equivalent amounts of light to HPS systems at a cost that is up to 40% less, and in some cases up to 70% less than those systems.

The design and lighting configuration capabilities that are available with LED systems make them ideal for indoor vertical urban farming operations. For example, vertical farms have been established near Chicago and in Indiana that provide over one million square feet of growing space in warehouses that have 30,000 square foot footprints. Growing plots in these warehouses can be stacked on top of each other with LED lights interspersed between growing layers. Traditional lighting systems would generate excessive heat that might get trapped between these layers, damaging the plants. LED light eliminate that problem.

Indoor urban farming operations also allow growers to produce food in closer geographic proximity to consumers. Rather than relying on expensive long-distance shipping that consumes additional energy resources before food is placed on a consumer’s table, urban farms can deliver their products to grocery outlets that are near their facilities and close to the ultimate consumers of their products.

As population growth continues and more people relocate into urban environments, food scientists will need to address the challenges of feeding them efficiently and with minimal adverse environmental impact. LED lighting for urban farming will be an important tool to help them meet these challenges.