The future of food security in Canada is in greenhouses and vertical farms – controlled environments where unseasonable weather is not a concern. There are 17 million square meters of greenhouses in Ontario alone, where supplemental electric lighting at up to 50 watts per square meter provide ample opportunities for horticultural lighting design.
The challenge for professional lighting designers is to effectively communicate with the client, including horticulturalists, farmers, and greenhouse and vertical farm operators. Concepts such as photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), photoperiods, long- and short-day plants, and daily light integrals (DLI) are easy to master, but there is much more. Photomorphogenesis, phototropism, shade avoidance, secondary metabolites, and circadian rhythms are dependent on ultraviolet radiation and visible light from 280 to 800 nm.
Equally useful, professional lighting designers are familiar with climate-based daylight modeling for architectural design. We have the lighting design software tools to predict daylight availability in greenhouses on an hourly basis. With this, we can calculate how much supplemental electric lighting will be needed and how much it will cost to operate throughout the year. In short, our expertise brings considerable value to horticultural lighting design.
PRESENTER: Ian Ashdown, P. Eng. (Ret.), FIES
Ian Ashdown is Senior Scientist for SunTracker Technologies Ltd. He holds over 150 patents and patent applications related to lighting design and research, and is responsible for the photometric calculation and architectural visualization engines of Lighting Analysts’ AGi32 and ElumTools lighting design software products. He is also Chair of the IES Horticultural Lighting Committee. He is currently developing electric lighting and daylighting design software tools expressly for greenhouses and vertical farms.
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