Cost-saving lighting strategies for greenhouses
The greenhouse industry provides locally-grown vegetables and ornamentals to consumers. For year-round production, it is often necessary to provide supplemental lighting during the winter months, when there is little sun light. However, the electricity to provide this supplemental lighting is a major expense, up to 30 percent of total production cost. With small profit margins in this industry, the difference between profit and loss can depend on how well this supplemental lighting is managed. In collaboration with UGA engineers, UGA horticulturists have developed hardware and software that control greenhouse lights in a way that assures that the light is provided in the most efficient way possible. They estimated that this can reduce the overall cost of providing supplemental light by up to 40 percent. They are currently conducting trials in UGA greenhouses and a commercial greenhouse in Oglethorpe County to verify these electricity savings.