Things to Consider When Setting Up a Grow Room:
- Growth Stage – Do you plan to veg and flower in the same space? Make sure you are able to replace your lights without damaging your plants when it is time to switch. You’ll also want to consider hanging heights for your plants for the different stages of growth. Different lighting technologies and power output require different hanging heights. For example, an LED is hung closer to the plant canopy than HID lighting. Also, a T5 grow lamp (for veg or flower) will be hung closer to the plants than a 315W CMH in veg or a 1000W HPS in flower.
- Electrical Load – Higher wattages require more electricity. Lower wattages require less. Keep in mind your total electrical load and ensure you have ample capacity.
- Light Replacement and Maintenance – Consider lamp replacement, cleaning and maintenance access. This will greatly help reduce frustration later on when the time comes for changing lamps, cleaning the light fixture or manually dimming your fixture.
- Light Overlap – Some lighting fixtures direct the light emitted beyond its intended coverage area. For example, many DE fixtures have reflectors designed to spread the light across a wider distance. This is because overlapping the light in a grow room can put more onto the plants along the edges of the light output, where the intensity is not as great. Light overlap can also change the uniformity of the plant canopy. It is best to get the most uniform light output as possible. Doing this could mean a need for farther spaced lights, or using the light overlap to add light to lower performing areas.
- Wall Reflectances – You may get additional light on the plant canopy depending on the light reflected from your walls. The use of highly reflective material, or even glossy white paint, can help add light to the plant canopy. Keep this in mind as you set up your grow area to ensure you don’t add too much light and stress your plants.
- Temperature – Lighting projects heat. You may need to add fans, ventilation, or cooling when running HID or sometimes even add heat to your room with LED to maintain optimal temperature for your plants. Pay close attention to the leaf temperature of your plants over room temperature and adjust your room accordingly.
- Environment – Humidity and heat can be a factor. CO2 may need to be added to your room for balance.
- Watering and Plant Maintenance – Think about how you plan to water and maintain your plants as they grow. You may consider aisles in order to prune and will want to space your lighting out accordingly.
Deciding how many lights to include in a grow room can be tricky. Consider reaching out to your lighting consultant or supplier to obtain a lighting layout. These layouts will provide the amount of fixtures needed to light your space given your specific parameters. They also provide the fixture locations, estimated PPFD/PBFD and uniformity measurements, electrical load and more.
As with any data, the layouts can provide misleading information and can often overwhelm if you are not familiar with the information presented. A small change to the reflectance value of a surface, the hanging height above your plants or the distance set between fixtures can have a dramatic effect on results. Ask questions to familiarize yourself with what you have been provided. Pay special attention to the type of information given and be sure to use apples to apples data when comparing layouts with from competing providers.