A family of four in Palmer, Alaska spends an average of $1,300 more on groceries each year than does the same-size Portland, Oregon family, according to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. This is largely because 98 percent of Alaska’s produce is imported from out of state, per the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Greens travel great distances to reach Alaskan consumers, running up fuel costs along the way.
Greenhouses with conventional lighting systems make it possible to cultivate crops in challenging climates, but they’re expensive to operate because of their high energy demands. Alaskans pay among the highest rates for electricity in the US. Their rates are 50 percent higher, according to the US Department of Energy.
These are among the factors that drove Green Winter Farm to LumiGrow, an LED-based horticultural lighting company.
Green Winter Farm founder Crystal Boze sought a more economically and environmentally viable alternative to conventional greenhouse light fixtures, which rely on high intensity discharge (HID) technology. HID lights waste half the energy they consume because they emit broad swaths of the color spectrum unusable by plants. The USDA Farm Services Agency pointed Boze to energy-efficient LED lighting, which can be designed to emit only those portions of the color spectrum that trigger healthy plant responses.
A USDA loan helped Green Winter Farm establish a hydroponic basil farm that’s illuminated by LumiGrow LED systems, within a windowless steel building.
“As a farmer and mother of two young children, I know just how important it is, yet how hard it can be to put healthy food on the table,” Boze says. “Green Winter Farm required a lighting solution proven to produce bountiful crops without the high energy price tag. In reviewing third-party studies, I realized that not all LED lights are created equal. LumiGrow is the clear winner.”
LumiGrow LED lights will also make it easier to regulate the farm’s temperature.
“LumiGrow LED systems don’t produce waste heat,” Boze says. “With hot-running conventional HID lights, we’d be forced to take in outside air or blast an air conditioner, or even both, to keep the temperature at an acceptable level.”
Learn more about LumiGrow online at LumiGrow.com.