August Newsletter: It’s All About Grow Lights!


August Newsletter: It’s All About the Grow Lights!

August Newsletter #7
Table of Contents
A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
It’s All About Grow Lighs
A Grow Light Showroom, I mean Growroom
Fluorescent T5’s
600 Watt Halide
Induction Lights
Older LED’s
New LED’s
“The Need To Grow”, a food documentary in production
Aquaponics USA/World TV
Rosamond High Gets A Food Forevr Growing System
The Aquaponics USA Teacher Training Manual
The Aquaponics USA Resources & Curriculum Ideas Manual

A Word from our Editor, Grace Sylke
We’re once again getting this Newsletter out just prior to the end of the designated month; but the good news is we have a Monthly Newsletter that’s been well received and is growing in popularity thanks to everyone of YOU, our Subscribers.
We recently completed a four month Newsletter Series about the FOOD REVOLUTION from April-July, (if you haven’t seen that series, it’s quite a story; and all you need to do is click the above Link. Then read April-June before you read July as it’s a series.)
We are now back to sharing our experiences doing R&D in our Greenhouse and Growroom. This August Newsletter is all about the Grow Lights in our Growroom; and September is going to be about our Vertical Duffy Duct System in the Greenhouse.
It’s an ongoing adventure in R&D over here when you have an aerospace engineer designing the system. Speaking of R&D, you’re not going to believe what’s in the pipeline for our Indoor Food Forever™ Farms. It’s a game changer; but we won’t be sharing those plans for a while.
Suffice it to say, this new Aquaponics Technology has even caught us by surprise.
Quick Links:
What’s been happening at Aquaponics USA and Aquaponics World while we wrote about the Food Revolution in the past 4 months?  A LOT!
If you missed the 4 part (one each month) FOOD REVOLUTION Series, you can read them all by clicking on our July Newsletter:
This Newsletter is All About GROW LIGHTS!
Dear Subscriber:
We’ve been very busy over here at Aquaponics USA and Aquaponics World since we debuted our Micro Food Forever™ Farm in late February; and we’ve learned a lot.
This Newsletter is all about what’s happened and what we learned so sit tight and buckle up for a ride on our roller coaster of running two Aquaponics companies.

It’s All About Grow Lights 

Everything we’re doing over here is all about Research Development. Actually, for innovative Aquaponics System Designers, R&D is necessary and on-going. However, some Aquaponics System Designers have gotten stuck in the same system designs. That’s not what’s happening here. We’re about as fluid as the water running through our systems.
Right now, our biggest R&D project is around finding and testing the best, most economical and energy efficient Grow Lights, which is why the photo below shows a Growroom with four different kinds of Grow Lights running in it.
We’re going to give you the skinny on every one of them right here in this Newsletter so keep reading.
The other major R&D project is about designing and running a Vertical Duffy Duct™ System. Next month, we’ll explain why after just twelve weeks, we tore out everything we had just put up in the Greenhouse and replaced them with something else. All that work! All that money! And out it came after growing the first two crops! EGAD!
When I (Grace) freak out over things like taking out everything and replacing it with something else, Oliver, our retired aerospace engineer turned Aquaponics Systems Designer, calmly explains it like this: “Grace, that’s what R&D is. You do the Research by testing things. If things don’t work the way you want them to work or cost out the way you hoped, you tear them out and find something that works better or costs out more efficiently.” He’s used to doing R&D work. Kiel, our Systems Technician, and I go into shock for a couple of days.
Kiel doesn’t know it yet; but our proprietary Solids Separation BioConversion System is about to go through a big tweak soon, too. We can’t tell you about that part of the Food Forever™ Farm System because it’s in the Patenting Process.

Our Growroom with 4 Different Types of Lights.(The Fluorescent T5’s are not shown, as we tested and removed them.)

Visiting our Growroom is like walking into a Grow Light Showroom because that’s exactly what it is right now.
In the foreground, and colored red, are four LED fixtures. Behind them is a 600 Watt Halide Grow Light. Behind the Halide are six LED Bars. Behind the LED Bars are four Induction Lights.
Below, are the intimate details of what we’ve discovered doing the R&D on these different kinds of Grow Lights. We’re going to tell you what they cost, how well they work, what kind of power they take and how much heat they aim towards the plants. We’ll also discuss what we’ve found to be the advantages and disadvantages of each kind of Grow Light including the already removed Fluorescents.

Fluorescent T5’s (not shown above)
These are T5 Fluorescents. During the first two years of running our Growroom we used these Fluorescents for grow-out; and they worked great. They are great for growing leafy greens and need to be kept close to the top of the canopy. They have even light distribution and draw about 400 Watts each for a total of 800 Watts for a 4 x 4 foot (16 square feet) area. They cannot be used for flowing plants like tomatoes as they do not have enough red light and cannot be set up high above the plant. The heat from the lights is transfered to the plants because of the low positioning of the light above the plants. These 8 tube lights sell for $249 each, or $498 for two to cover 16 square feet.

Halide
This is a 600 Watt Halide bulb in a Dominator XXXL reflector. It has a 60 Watt 8 inch fan attached. The Lumatek ballast (not shown; but you can see it in our recently released YouTube Video at Aquaponics USA TV) is adjustable from 400 to 600 plus Watts. Overall, this light uses about 500 Watts in the 400 Watt setting to 720 Watts in the 600 Watt setting due to ballast efficiency and fan power. The light from the reflector covers a 4 x 4 foot area (16 square feet) evenly. The Halide bulb is tuned for leafy greens but can be replaced with a High Pressure Sodium (HPS) to grow flowing plants and either bulb can be up to 1000 Watts with the appropriate ballast. The above pictured 600 Watt light and ballast sells for about $520. Surprisingly, this halide puts out very little heat to the plant, as the bulb does not emit any appreciable amount of infrared.

Induction Grow Lights
Induction Grow Lights are similar to fluorescents inasmuch as they are a glass tube with phosphors painted on the inside. When electrically activated, the phosphors emit light of different colors (wavelengths) depending on the phosphor chemistry.

The main difference is that fluorescents have electrodes inserted in the end of the tubes and induction lights do not. Induction lights are made in a continuous loop, have a coil wrapped around them in two places and the energy is magnetically delivered to the light’s interior. This method of energy insertion is much more efficient than using electrodes that deteriorate over time thereby limiting the fluorescent’s life to only a few thousand hours. Induction lights last for 70,000 hours at full brightness and 100,000 hours to 70% of full brightness. They cover the full spectrum and, therefore, can be used to grow a wide variety of plants.

These Inda-Gro induction lights will cover a 4 x 4 foot area (16 square feet) but the light distribution is not equal, with much more light directly under the light than out near the side edges of the 4 x 4 foot area. When using multiple Induction lights, we have found that setting them 3 feet apart gives a good distribution of light down a row of lights.They put out more heat than expected, especially right below the light. Each light draws 420 Watts of electricity and requires extra Red LEDs to improve flowering plant fruiting, like tomatoes. They sell for about $795 each.

Older LED’s
We purchased these LED’s several years ago. They were designed for growing cannabis and it was what was available at the time. Each circle has 16 red, 4 blue and one green LED. They work well for sprouting and growing flowering plants due to the amount of red light. But, they do not work well for growing out leafy greens (or the vegetative stage of all plants) due to the lack of blue light.

Each one of these fixtures draw 150 Watts and 4 of them together draw 600 Watts to cover a 4 x 4 foot (16 square foot) area and have even light distribution. Most of the heat generated by the lights is convected upwards from the back of the fixture. At the time we purchased these they were selling for about $1,200 each, so they were quite expensive.

New LEDs
These six LED Grow Bars are custom designed to grow leafy greens. They contain four different colors (wavelengths) of LEDs to meet the requirements of both chlorophyll “A” of 430nm (Indigo) and 662nm (Red), and chlorophyll “B” of 453nm (Blue) and 642nm (Red-Orange). They have equal numbers of the different color LEDs with a total of 24 LEDs per bar.

Each bar has it’s own power supply that draws 40 watts with a total of all six bars at 240 Watts to cover a 4 x 4 foot area (16 square feet). We have one bar over each duct at 8 inch separation. They have 120 degree lenses on the individual LEDs and require a 5 inch height above the canopy (shown at 12 inch height) in order for all the colors to converge and supply each plant with a full spectrum of available light.

These bars do get quite warm to hot, but that heat is far enough away from the plants, and of such small overall quantity, that it is not a factor due to the overall low power requirement. Also, due to their small form factor, they can be used in a greenhouse as supplemental lighting without interference to the natural sunlight, especially if the greenhouse uses a diffused light covering. In addition, these lights allow for lots of air movement. We do not have a price set for these lights as these were custom ordered. We are still testing these lights but they look very promising.

THE NEED TO GROW,
Is a new documentary in production about how we’re changing our Food System. It’s going to be an Award Winner so watch for it.

Produced by Ryan Wirick and Rob Herring, it features some of the most important people in the Food Movement including Jeffrey Smith and Verdana Shiva.
And we’re in it, too, so you’ll be hearing a lot about this film from us. We’re so excited about it we can hardly keep our new Logo Baseball Caps on straight.
We did manage to keep them on when the film crew converged on our Demonstration Micro Food Forever™ Farm on Sunday, August 17, 2014 to film our contribution to “The Need To Grow”. Hours later, as the crew packed up, we looked at each other and said, “It looks like they filmed everything but the kitchen sink and the cats.” It was a fun and exciting day.
“In 2014, Ryan Wirick founded Earth Conscious Films with the intention of creating motion pictures that not only inform and entertain, but also empower people with the tools needed to solve the most pressing issues facing our species and the planet.” (from “The Need To Grow” website)
His first Earth Conscious Film is “The Need To Grow”, which addresses the solutions to a corporately controlled food system. The DVD cover quotes Buckminster Fuller saying: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete”. This film is all about these new models.
“Rob Herring is a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts at NYU where he received the Drama Award for Film and TV. He had a successful career in theater, including two StageSceneLA Awards (one for Best Actor) and an Ovation Award nomination. He recently Co-Directed/Produced his first feature film, a romantic comedy entitled “Nothing In Los Angeles“, which has been selected for numerous festivals around the country and already received two Best Picture honors.” (from “The Need To Grow” website)

When it hits theaters, this incredible film is going to be a show-stoping, Award-winning achievement in documentary filmmaking. It’s a MUST SEE Achievement!

Aquaponics USA/World TV

If you prefer to see a Video describing these Grow Lights, we just created one, which we’ve uploaded to our You Tube Chanel. Just click on Aquaponics USA/World TV.

This Aquaponics USA Food Forever™ Growing System, FFGS-20, was installed at Rosamond High in Rosamond, CA in late July, 2014 (We added the colorful and informative Wall Posters)

On July 31st, the Aquaponics USA crew drove a couple of hours west to another part of the California High-Desert called Antelope Valley. There, Kiel, our Systems Technician, and Oliver, our Systems Designer, installed this system; and we also conducted a Training for Mr. Ben Gilliam, the Teacher who has this system in his Eco-Science classroom and other staff of Rosamond High including the Assistant Principal, Mrs. Debi Keys.
Mrs. Keys referred to the system as “her baby” as she spent eight months working on the California Grant that made it possible to bring the first of several Aquaponics USA Systems into the Southern Kern Unified School District as part of their new Eco-Science Program. Seeing this first FFGS-20 System being installed was a dream come true for both Mrs. Keys and her District Superintendent, Mr. Jeffrey Weinstein, who has been supporting her all the way.

Our new Teacher Training Manual that comes with every Aquaponics USA School System.

This is a new Teacher Training Manual we created especially for Rosamond High late last month. We plan to share it with all Teachers who can use it to first train themselves and then to train their students on how to operate their Food Forever™ Growing Systems.

Teachers Also Receive This Resources & Curriculum Ideas Manual
There still aren’t many actual Text Books associated exclusively with specific grade levels that are teaching Aquaponics in the classroom; but it won’t be long before there are.
Until then, we’ve created this Resources & Curriculum Ideas Manual that covers all grade levels and offers some helpful suggestions for teaching Aquaponics.

Get Your Discounted and Bundled School Price Sheet here where we offer unlimited Tech Support to Teachers

An Aquaponics system can be used to demonstrate various principles taught in technology, plant life cycles and their structure, how to make effective use of recycled materials, low-tech/high-yield gardening, ecological issues, biology, chemistry, physics and sustainable farming. A system can be used to demonstrate in real time how the nitrogen cycle works, the parts of a seed, its germination and the growth rate of seedlings. The subjects are endless. Several Culinary Arts students are learning to grow the food they’re being taught to prepare while supplying their school cafeteria with healthy fish and organic vegetables. This takes the “Farm to School” programs that have been popping up all over the nation to another level.

 

We have a parked website, The Edible Schoolroom, which we would love to build out to feature all of the schools in the Aquaponics USA School Program.

We look forward to working with US Schools.

 

Thank you for Forwarding our Newsletter to your Friends, Family and Social Media Associates and making it a popular and sought out Resource among people who are interested in the Food Movement, Aquaponics and Alternative Sustainable Agriculture.
We so appreciate YOU, our Subscribers because without you, we are wasting our time.
Sustainably,
Aquaponics USA/Aquaponics World

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This Discount is good through September 30th, 2014
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Aquaponics USA/ Aquaponics World, LLC | 56925 Yucca Trail #303 | Yucca Valley | CA | 92284
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5 comments on “August Newsletter: It’s All About Grow Lights!

  1. Hi, learned about induction lights. Didn’t know they had such enormous life-spans. A year being around 8,000 hours they last ten years or more 24/7. I wonder why I never saw them in factories, all the ones I ever replaced had electrodes and often needed replacement under two years even though they weren’t running 24/7.

  2. As far as the various Grow Lights are concerned they are very significant and one can surely adhere some of the magnificent attributes of the planting or the gardening as well. The people who are into such an interest definitely need to know more and more about the same in order to get along well with the same.

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