LED – Opportunity

Supplemental artificial light is a commonly used by seed starters. A standard recommendation from University extension services for seed starting is to use one “warm white” and one “cool white” fluorescent lamp. A typical light fixture has two 40W or 34W lamps. The actual energy used is less than the sum of these wattages because of a ballast factor. In my configuration the total wattage actually used by two 34W lamps is about 57W.

LED’s are increasingly being used for indoor growing operations because they use less energy (and have lower greenhouse gas emissions) than fluorescent lamps. However, the LED products currently marketed for commercial horticultural applications are prohibitively expensive for the average seed hobbyist. In 2015 LED “shoplight” fixtures became relatively inexpensive and widely available in big box stores. I purchased several of these fixtures and am testing them in various ways as compared to fluorescent lamps. (See Results).