Light Management in Greenhouses & Controlled Environments

Electric lighting is used in greenhouses to regulate the photoperiod to control flowering, or to increase growth to increase crop quality and yield.  It is also used for sole-source lighting of plants grown indoors. A few books and summary articles are below, followed by more in-depth articles on specific topics.

  • Light Management in Controlled Environments, a book edited by Roberto Lopez and Erik Runkle, contains 18 chapters written by 20 leading plant scientists about how light influences plant growth and development of specialty crops grown in greenhouses and controlled-environment growth rooms.
  • LED Lighting for Urban Agriculture, a book edited by Toyoki Kozai, Kazuhiro Fujiwara, and Erik Runkle that focuses on light-emitting diode (LED) lighting for the commercial production of horticultural crops in plant factories and greenhouses. It contains 32 chapters written by plant scientists and engineers in Asia and the U.S.
  • Use of Lighting to Accelerate Crop Timing by Erik Runkle and Matthew Blanchard, Michigan State University.
  • Greenhouse Glazing by A.J. Both, Rutgers University.

Resources

  • An overview of long-day lighting

    Published on July 17, 2019

    There are a lot of factors to consider for effective and efficient long-day lighting. This article provides a brief overview of when and how to deliver lighting to create long days inside greenhouses.

  • Is green light useful to plants?

    Published on June 17, 2019

    There is some confusion about the efficacy of green light at promoting photosynthesis. This article explains why and how green light is useful to plants.

  • The economics of lighting young plants indoors

    Published on June 12, 2019

    This article provides the framework of the economics of indoor lighting of young plants (transplants). It includes example costs for an indoor plant factory in Japan, and provides highlights for indoor lighting used by two commercial growers in the U.S.

  • DLI 'requirements'

    Published on May 10, 2019

    This article provides daily light integral (DLI) guidelines to produce plants of at least moderate quality, assuming plants are grown at moderate temperatures.

  • A little far-red light goes a long way

    Published on May 3, 2019

    Part 4 of a 5-part series presents information on how a relatively low intensity of far-red light influences seedlings grown in fully controlled, indoor environments.

  • LEDs: Blue & far-red light

    Published on April 10, 2019

    Part 3 of a 5-part series summarizes results from an indoor lighting experiment with floriculture crop seedlings, where we determined whether blue light could nullify the effects of far red on stem elongation, without inhibiting flowering.

  • Green and blue LED lighting

    Published on March 6, 2019

    Indoor production of leafy greens, Part 2 of 4: How green light affects lettuce growth can depend on blue and red light.

  • LEDs: Far red & light intensity interaction

    Published on March 4, 2019

    Part 2 of a 5-part series explains how far-red light and light intensity (the photosynthetic photon flux density) interact to influence growth of young plants indoors, under fully controlled environments.

  • Selecting an LED fixture

    Published on February 18, 2019

    With so many LED products now on the market, choosing the right lighting fixture is a crucial decision. This article discusses factors to consider when choosing an LED fixture for plant applications.

  • How green light affects floriculture crops

    Published on February 13, 2019

    Is green light really a safe light for floriculture crops? Researchers at Michigan State University find out the impact it has on crops that flower in response to the day length.

  • Lighting young plants indoors

    Published on February 4, 2019

    Part 1 of a 5-part series is an introduction to producing young plants indoors under fully controlled environments.

  • DLC requirements for LED fixtures

    Published on December 5, 2018

    This article highlights the DesignLights Consortium's (DLC's) requirements for testing and reporting horticultural lighting fixtures that contain light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

  • Growing ornamental seedlings under white LEDs

    Published on November 15, 2018

    Michigan State University researchers discuss the impacts of using white light on plant growth and human vision, as well as energy considerations when growing ornamental seedlings indoors.

  • White LEDs for plant applications

    Published on November 12, 2018

    Many horticultural lighting fixtures combine blue and red LEDs. However, there are merits to using fixtures that partly or completely contain white LEDs.

  • Purple vs. pink vs. white LED fixtures

    Published on September 10, 2018

    LED fixtures that emit a purplish light are usually less preferred by people, but are often the most efficient at converting electricity into light useful to plants.

  • An update on LED lighting efficacy

    Published on July 5, 2018

    In plant lighting, the photosynthetic photon efficacy of a fixture quantifies how effectively a fixture converts electricity into light useful for photosynthesis. This article provides an update the efficacy values of LEDs as of 2018.

  • Horticultural lighting applications

    Published on June 11, 2018

    This article summarizes the different lighting applications and characteristics used in horticulture, including in greenhouses and indoors.

  • Maximize the benefits of supplemental lighting

    Published on January 8, 2018

    Purchasing, installing, and operating supplemental greenhouse lighting is fairly expensive. Here are some tips and considerations to maximize your supplemental lighting system.

  • Does light quantity trump light quality?

    Published on December 5, 2017

    Some of our recent research confirms that light quality (such as the ratio or red to far red) has a greater effect on plant growth when light intensity is low than when it is high.

  • Factors that influence leaf coloration

    Published on November 15, 2017

    Growers usually focus on quality attributes that relate to flowering, but this article reviews cultural and environmental factors that influence foliage color.

  • Developing new plant lighting standards

    Published on October 23, 2017

    Standards are developed so there is consistency and conformity in products to improve confidence and comparability in new technologies.

  • Investment considerations for greenhouse lighting

    Published on October 11, 2017

    Many growers install and operate supplemental (photosynthetic) lighting to increase crop quality and yield. This article describes some of the factors to consider when investing in a supplemental lighting system for greenhouse crop production.

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