Lighting (Energy Consumption)

Discussion in 'First Time Marijuana Growers' started by ZerK, May 8, 2009.

  1. This has probably been answered before but, what is the most practical lighting source that would produce a decent yield but will be virtually undetectable on the energy bill.
  2. You could use LED lighting, it produces no heat at all and is really energy effecent. The most common used at this point in time is CFL lighting, because its cheap and easy to get. It also doesnt use that much power to raise any red flags.
  3. LEDs are not ready for prime time. A HID light (HPS or MH) will be the most efficient at converting watts to lumens.
  4. My opinion on this is both LEDs and CFLs. Think of it this way; with a 45 watt LED (~250 watt equivalent) and 2 105 watt CFLs (each is ~400 watt equivalent) you get a total of 1050 watts, AND this can be used in a relatively small area, since the heat output of these, even combined, is still pretty low. Your total wattage consumption is only 255 watts (per hour I believe). Heck, my home computer is 750 watts, so it costs less than leaving your computer on.

    Combine that with good airflow, and you've got a massive amount of lumens, the LEDs only pretty much put out the spectrum of light that the plants need for both veging and flowering, and the CFLs (depending on whether veging or flowering) can be purchased in both 6500k and 2700k (the former for veging and the latter for flowering). 1050 watts is probably good for a 12x12 area I would think, but I would think at least a 8x8 (the rating for the LED panel alone is 5x5). That's a big sea of green! Check Express Light Bulbs for both the LED panel and the CFLs.

    Peace and good luck.

    Good luck!
  5. id say a red flag is atleast 4kw in a 1 bedroom house, the reason cfls wont raise flags simply is. because could you imagine trying to get 4kw of cfls in a grow space?
  6. STICKER SHOCK !!!! Got my first electric bill this week and was surprised. My typical bill is 50.00 / 60.00 monthly this month with my newgrow is 180.00. 2 400 watt HPS / 3 4ft flour lights / 6 inch 500 cfm in line exhaust fan / 2 small fans and pumps. BUT... Growing auto flower with a 19 and 5 light schedule so that will impact my bill somewhat.
  7. CFLs right now, they can be bought for 1-3 bucks each, 4 bulbs use as much energy as 1 incandescent bulb.

    Depends on the kind of grow you are doing though, I don't see CFLs as a great option for larger grows, 10 plants would probably be my absolute cut off point. At 10 plants you are looking at 550w minimum which would be 11 46w bulbs or 21 26w bulbs, plus sockets for all of them, you will probably be in the same ballpark as a small hps ballast or something.
  8. The sun? A 400w HPS with an exhaust fan and various other bits still only comes out to $30 a month or so in flower.. Is $120 really too much for several ounces of MJ? Or are you trying to hide the usage from someone? If so you are under the mistaken impression that you can grow in a space that you share with someone without them discovering it.
  9. Doesn´t produce much light either, is the current problem. May improve in future.
  10. Power company employee's are paid by the police and DEA to report extremely high power bills. I dont know if anyone knew that, but its a sad truth. Plus, who the hell wants to pay a huge power bill right that when most people are tight on cash right now....
  11. Its like toasty said... efficency says hps. 5 cfl's is a 250 watt hps and the hps would produce more buds. same wattage..My 2 cents...;)
  12. #12 cantharis, May 9, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2009

    Replace all your bulbs with CFLs and cook with gas, buy a gas kettle. Keep your leccy bills down.
  13. Since when does a $30/month increase become an "extremely high power bill?" As cantharis said, you can cut back on energy consumption in other ways to offset the small increase in your bill from growing a few plants, plus there are many, many legal explanations for why your bill could be higher by a few bucks a month.

    True that trying to grow dozens of plants under multiple 1kw lamps could start to enter red flag territory, but no one at the power company will blink because your bill is a few bucks a month higher from a 400w HID and a couple of fans.
  14. Wrong. You cannot add up the "equivalent" watts. All those equivalent watts mean is that the light output is comparable to an incandescent bulb of that equivalent wattage. These numbers are completely and utterly meaningless for grow purposes. When you compare LEDs to HIDs or fluoros, they all could be quoted as having some sort of "equivalent" watts because they all are more efficient at converting watts to light than incandescent is. A 45w LED + 2x105w CFL is a total of 255 watts, period.

    Or, if you still want to use the "equivalent" watts in your head, then the 100 watts per plant rule of thumb does not apply -- you would need a new rule of thumb of roughly 400 or so "equivalent" watts per plant.
  15. Toastybiz, I just STILL have a hard time thinking HPS or MH are superior to LEDs for instance. LEDs really only put out the light that the plant needs. That doesn't compare to incandescants in any way, so how is the "equivalent" wattage being used in the way you spoke of? I can see this for CFLs, absolutely, but not for the LEDs. So, how many watts does a 400 watt HPS or MH put out, when compared to incandescant? I know the actual used wattage is around 400, but are we just looking at lumens then when comparing watts?

  16. Forget watts then, for an unambiguous way to compare effectiveness of light sources consider the number of lumens the light emits.

    My MH (I won´t quote the power consumption in watts) emits 36,000 lumens. What do your LEDs produce each? That is a direct comparison.
  17. Ah, here it is. On the site it specically says "This is our most popular LED growing system and only uses 45 Watts of power and surpasses the output of a 250 Watt HPS Growing system. " So, when speaking of LEDs, I guess the assumption on equivalent wattage is that it's equivalent to HPS.
  18. Basically yes. We only talk of watts for 2 separate reasons: 1) when talking about power consumption, in which case "watts" is the proper measure to use, and 2) when talking about light output, in which case "watts" really has nothing to do with it, but we use that anyway because that's how lights are sold and because CFLs are sold as replacements to incandescents, and we all know from experience how "bright" a 60w or 75w or 100w incandescent is. That's the source of the confusion about "equivalent" watts.

    Even lumens isn't a true measure of light output/intensity, it is a standardized measure of light on an area of a fixed size from a fixed distance. I believe it also encompasses only certain spectra. It is intended to be able to compare bulbs more directly to each other, and it serves as a fairly good substitute for talking about "light output/intensity" in general.

    Now, those LEDs you reference, I do see where on that site that it says they have higher "output" than a 250w HPS. It doesn't say what kind of "output", it certainly leads you to believe they are talking about lumens or some measure of light intensity, so for the moment let's assume that is the comparison. So what is the rated lumens of that LED setup? They don't tell you. Hmmm. All kinds of technical specs, except for anything backing up their biggest claim. I'm not saying it isn't true, but they seem to go conspicuously out of their way to avoid supporting their own claim. Another website that sells LED grow lights compares them directly to HIDs and on comparing lumens simply says that isn't a fair comparison.

    A 250w HPS is rated at roughly 33,000 lumens, which is 132 lumens/watt. That LED doesn't disclose lumens, let's just use the same 33,000 lumens even though the LED claims to beat the HPS so should be an even higher number. To produce 33,000 lumens from 45 watts would be 733 lumens/watt, which is nearly six times more efficient than HPS. Or, more than 10 times more efficient compared to 23w household replacement CFLs. I need to see something definitive to support such claims.

    It's possible that LEDs, because of their tightly focus color spectrum, don't rate highly on lumens. OK, fine, then show me some other scientific measurements of lux or foot-candles, not just unsupported claims.

    And I don't buy the argument that LEDs are tightly focused on a particular spectrum being an advantage. MH and HPS lights provide beneficial lighting, little to none in the unusable spectra. Plants evolved to grow under the multi-spectrum sun, and wise indoor growers will tell you that full-spectrum lighting is better than all MH or all HPS, so lighting that claims to tighten the bandwidth a lot more than HIDs cannot be good for the plant in the long run. That would be like finding the one food that is most nutritious and then eating only that -- you would be a lot healthier eating a diet with a variety of nutritious foods.

    LED grows are still experimental. A few growers have had success, but many have had trouble at various stages. If I need a new lamp in 5 years I bet LED will be on my shopping list then, but I just don't see it as the way to go now unless you want to be experimental.
  19. The SI unit of luminous intensity is the candela - there are other units that express slightly different, but related, aspects, the lux, lumen and foot-candle. Lumens (unit of luminous flux) are commonly stated by lamp manufacturers as a convenient unit to make direct comparisons of light output.
    EXCEPT by manufacturers of LEDs, it would appear. toastybiz is right on - why are they so coy on this vital quantity?
  20. Well, I think the reason though that LED manufacturer's don't even list the lumen output is that it's not of consequence when growing plants. The spectra of light emitted are supposed to be those which the plants need amd use, the red and the blue, etc. Lumens are brightness as judged by the human eye, or at least how we perceive it.

    It's like with gamma radiation, for instance. To us, without special equipment, it's not visible. That doesn't make it any less real. If you find a chart of the light that plants need/use you will find that light in the visible range, white/green/yellow light are almost useless to plants. These happen to be the same types of light that we can see so readily, but which plants don't have a need for. I saw a chart comparison of light in the range that humans use and light in the ranges that plants use, and it's almost inverted. We use all of the more visible parts of the spectrum and the plants use the invisible portions.

    In fact, I originally planned my entire first grow with just LEDs, but decided to supplement the CFLs to hopefully increase my yield. Maybe my second time around, I will get a second or a larger LED panel, and use that entirely. I've seen some of the results which people have posted, and I just think this is another one of those times in human history where people grasp onto the "old way" of things, even if it's antiquated, because it's what they know, and what they're comfortable with. I saw this quote on the internet, but can't find info regarding the author: “Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity - not a threat”.

    I've seen the "comparisons" of LEDs vs HID lighting, and at least one of the tests I saw cited that the yield with the HID was about double than the LED. I don't know how fair this "test" was, but I really think that LEDs are past their infancy, and in fact are at least in adolescence at this time. In the end all I'm saying is if we cease to innovate, we cease to thrive as a human species.

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