For Many Cultivators Inaccurate Lighting Metrics May Be Hindering Operational Success

by Mitchell Galton, urban-gro (NASDAQ: UGRO) Director of Development

Cannabis is legal in some capacity in almost 40 states and consumer demand is ratcheting up –especially considering how more Eastern and Southern markets will come online in the next year. Consequently, operators in new and emerging markets are expected to accelerate go-to-market strategies to capture consumer market share as quickly as possible. At the same time, cultivators in mature markets are required to minimize input costs while maximizing production outputs as they face price compression. Neither can risk any operational inefficiencies that may inhibit the quality of their harvests.

Unfortunately, many cultivators are set up for failure from the outset because their lighting systems do not have the proper efficacy or intensity to support their operational goals or ancillary environmental control systems. While this is a common issue among cultivation facilities of any scale, it can be proactively addressed by understanding the most common pitfalls in lighting infrastructure selection and how to mitigate further risks to create an optimal growing environment.

Lighting specifications determine the requirements for all environmental control systems

Cultivation facilities must have the ability to precisely measure and control inputs–including lighting, temperature, humidity, irrigation and more– to ensure abundant and high-quality harvests. Selecting light intensity targets is often the first step in the facility’s build-out but choosing the wrong equipment can disrupt the ecosystem’s delicate equilibrium and incite a chain reaction of output challenges. 

A common example of this relationship between lighting and environmental control systems arises when operators add light fixtures that increase photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), which raises the wattage and sensible …

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