Lighting as a Platform (LaaP): Helping Those Who Grow Green to Go Green

As we look forward to celebrating Earth Day this coming April, it's a good opportunity for all of us to reflect on our own decisions and the impacts they might have on the environment. For cannabis consumers particularly, this is perhaps a more salient topic than ever as we see state after state, country after country roll out legalization legislation.

But it hasn't all been celebration; the increased global demand for the cannabis plant has led to an uptick in commercial growing efforts, and while people may currently be enjoying the best cannabis the world has ever known, it is the environment that ultimately pays the price. That's where TSRgrow's Lighting as a Platform™ (LaaP) comes in.

At TSRgrow, we've identified the primary concerns surrounding commercial cannabis grows and developed solutions to address them. At the forefront of our concern were the efficiencies of state of the art lighting and power management on the environment and the overall carbon footprint of large scale industrial grow operations.

Recent environmental data has shown that large scale indoor Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) of Cannabis is going to contribute greatly to greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint, as well as noting the harmful effects that traditional growing methods can have on the environment. While many factors contribute to a cannabis grow's carbon footprint, perhaps none is more prevalent than a grower's choice of lighting.

Recognizing a Problem

Lighting is not a new concern. Cannabis growers and lighting developers have long since recognized the inherent value of moving away from traditional lighting methods for indoor growing.

High-intensity discharge HID lights such as metal halide (MH), and high-pressure sodium (HPS) have been used for decades in the production of indoor cannabis, and with wonderful results for the consumer: buds grown under these lamps receive a tremendous amount of light, leaving them dense, tasty and impressively potent.

Unfortunately, all of these forms of lighting are inefficient, requiring significant wattage to operate and producing substantial amounts of heat. Several studies conducted on the issue revealed that all of this inefficiency translates to some serious potential problems for the environment.

One study concluded that electricity and natural gas consumption from indoor cannabis ventures were primarily to blame for increased greenhouse gas emissions, noting that air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems were largely culpable. The research also revealed that one kilogram (or 2.2. pounds) of cannabis flower can carry with it the hefty price tag of between 2,283 (5,033 pounds) and 5,184 kilos (11,428 pounds) of carbon dioxide in its production. Ultimately, It's just not a conversation that can be avoided any longer.

LEDs: Lighting the Future

Developers recognized the potential of high-quality LED lighting to potentially reduce this issue, and their popularity has been on the rise ever since. Whether growing hydroponically in a grow tent at home or in a large scale greenhouse or indoor operation, LEDs can provide enough light to replace even the brightest lamps while consuming less energy.

The development of full-spectrum LED (light-emitting diode) lights was even more promising for commercial cannabis production, enabling growers to use the same lights for their entire growing cycle, regardless of photoperiod.

Gone were the days of switching from MH to HPS bulbs when transitioning from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage; now, growers could switch between lighting spectrums with a simple flip of a switch.

The LED grow light craze is a relatively recent one and has come about largely in response to a growing demand for action on climate change from the agricultural industry. Because so much cannabis is cultivated indoors, quality LED lighting became a natural alternative to the less-efficient HID options that have so long been in use. LEDs are a natural solution: they require less energy, are more cost-effective to operate, and can be configured to create a full spectrum of light under which marijuana plants thrive. That's why TSRgrow set out to make the best LED lighting possible.

LED Lighting: Simply Not Enough

Unfortunately, LED lighting was not a cure-all for the challenges of large scale commercial cannabis cultivation. Though much lower-profile than their HID counterparts, traditional LED lighting still possessed clunky, hot-running ballasts that fail frequently and inevitably raised grow room temperatures, facilitating the need for expensive, inefficient HVAC units.

Of equal interest to many growers was the total power consumed by LED lighting. Compared to traditional horticulture lighting, LEDs are highly efficient, effectively cutting energy consumption by roughly 30-40% while producing nearly the same light output. However, there was still room for improvement, as even the most energy-efficient LED grow lights relied on onboard ballasts for their power, resulting in a significant buildup of heat in the grow room and frequent failures of the ballasts.

TSRgrow: Making Better LED Fixtures

At TSRgrow, we recognized that replacing traditional lighting with LED lighting did not eliminate many of the problems posed by antiquated lighting systems. Sure, most LEDs eliminate the need for duct-cooled fixtures, but the need for HVAC units to continually maintain a grow room's temperature remained, dimming and power control of the fixtures was challenging and on-board ballasts continuously fail - a costly maintenance and contamination challenge. We knew there was more that could be done.

That is why we developed our TSRgrow LED Lighting Platform, (LaaP™) Our LED lighting fixtures are unique in that we have removed the ballast from the lighting fixture itself completely: TSRgrow developed and integrated Remote Power Servers, centrally located and outside any grow rooms, to power our LED lighting. The result is a highly efficient solution that removes all ballast heat from the grow room, significantly reducing the amount of expensive HVAC equipment needed to maintain grow room conditions which in turn significantly reduces the operating costs and carbon footprint associated with their operation. Further efficiencies are gained due to the superior efficacy of the remote power servers as well as their high power factor and lowest total harmonic distortion of any LED lighting power system on the market.

To help realize these LED lighting advancements and power system, TSRgrow Lighting Platform LaaP™ comes with built-in first-of-its-kind comprehensive management tools for complete power monitoring and control with unlimited zone mapping capability of each fixture. Integrating a broad range of technologies, we've created the simplest, most straightforward system on the market for automation, efficiency, analytics while delivering high performance best in class horticulture LED lighting.

How LaaP Technology Works

Lighting as a Platform™ (LaaP) is more than just lighting; it is an industry-leading advancement designed to meet the needs of the commercial indoor grower. Integrating computer-driven analytics into our comprehensive monitoring and automated climate control systems, we've created the first truly smart grow room that helps cultivation practices maximize their outputs while minimizing their carbon footprint.

LaaP-Helping-Growers-Go-GreenGrowers can monitor their environment remotely using our integrated monitoring software, automate any and all components of the system, and make adjustments on the fly using real-time data and analytics. Additionally, on/off and dimming functions can be fully automated, reducing maintenance and labor costs. Full zone control of lighting helps target the light for the strain being grown underneath it: more light for shorter strains, less for taller or variations in between. Gone are the days of one zone for a full room regardless of what is growing.

When integrated with TSRgrow's TOTALgrow™ Solution, data-analytic and environmental monitoring sensors and software is incorporated with ultra-efficient TSRgrow LED fixtures to allow growers to compare parameters with other grows and even previous grows, enabling them to make any necessary adjustments to achieve maximum yield, harvest after harvest.

At TSRgrow, we're dedicated not only to helping growers achieve their maximum potential but towards implementing more environmentally sustainable practices too. Our technology is designed to help growers maximize their efficiency and profit while simultaneously cutting down on the damaging impacts that indoor horticulture can generate.

As such, we are fully committed to advancing LED lighting toward a more sustainable, eco-friendly solution, and our LaaP™ system is just the beginning. Contact us today for a consultation to see how we can help you maximize your efficiency and minimize your carbon footprint because, at TSRgrow, we believe it's more than just lighting: it's a solution!

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