Efficacy in LED Grow Lights
What is efficacy?
White-light LED companies have recently taken to claiming that above all, efficacy is the most important feature of a lighting fixture, some going so far as to boast the efficacy of a single diode, not the entire fixture. They claim a fixture’s spectral quality is secondary to efficacy, and warn against companies that claim their spectrum is specifically tuned for the benefit of plants. However, this is a false assertion and a deliberate misrepresentation of the numbers to mislead consumers
Efficacy represents a light’s capacity for turning electrical energy into photons, and is merely a measurement of how many photons within the PAR range a fixture emits per second. But since not all light within 400 to 700 nanometers is used by a plant in equal amounts, a light’s spectrum is vital to the growth of plants. It’s become well known that blue light is the most important part of the light spectrum for vegetative growth, while red light is ideal for the flowering cycle. For this reason, reputable LED grow light manufacturers engineer their spectrum to focus on the parts of the spectrum that most benefit plants, not humans.
What kind of spectrum to choose
White-light LEDs produce a large amount of green and yellow light. While these spectrums play a vital role in plant development, they are effective in considerably smaller amounts than red and blue light. Thus the ratio of light spectrum becomes very important. The amount produced by white light LED manufacturers far exceed the amount a plant can actually absorb, and more than 50% of that light is merely reflected from the plant’s surface, increasing the temperature of the grow environment.
when judging a grow light, you can’t point to a single feature as being the most important. There are several factors that influence the viability of a grow light, with the spectrum and the intensity of that spectrum being at the top of the list. Any company that is directing you towards a single number on a white sheet is trying to distract you from other deficient components of their panel. Famurs LED Grow Lights has carefully crafted a perfect-blend spectrum for their grow lights that ensures no energy is wasted on parts of the spectrum plants will not use to grow and thrive.
So we must ask ourselves, considering all of the numerous shortcomings, why is the commercial cannabis industry still dominated by white light fixtures? There are a number of reasons, but perhaps the biggest reason is that white light LEDs are already used in every industry imaginable for human visibility, which speaks to the viability of the technology over traditional lighting methods, but unfortunately an efficient diode for human visibility is quite the opposite for your plants, irrefutably inefficient, regardless of the specs of the diode. The research and development into white light diodes is much further along—they are readily produced by many large manufacturers, and because of this availability are considerably less expensive than producing diodes with a specially targeted wavelength. This means bigger profits for the companies using these diodes. Often, the efficacy of these diodes is better on paper than the alternatives, which gives the companies the ability to market these specs, despite the fact that efficacy alone does not make a grow light effective. Ultimately, Marketing has spun a company cost-saving measure for themselves into a selling feature and in doing so has manipulated a large percentage of growers into believing that it’s the best way to grow.