Dr. James Calkins offered these comments on this story in Greenhouse Grower:
This is an interesting article about the possibility that California may decide to mandate light-emitting diode (LED) lighting in greenhouse facilities. It is something to be thinking about and watching for in Minnesota (as California goes, so goes the nation; much of the time).
The primary driver is increased energy efficiency in an attempt to mitigate climate change. As indicated in the article, the cost of retrofitting would be very high, but there can also be significant benefits from a production perspective including longer-term energy savings. Reduced cooling costs is highlighted as one of these benefits, and would be true in warmer climates, but the analysis would be more complicated in temperate climates where lighting functions as a partial heat source during the winter and is an important part of the part of the cost/benefit equation that is not addressed in the article. I did a quick search, but have not found anything that specifically addresses the lighting/heating relationship in greenhouses in colder climates. There are clearly many benefits associated with LED lighting in greenhouses and it is certainly possible that any added heating costs could be outweighed by the long-term energy and other savings associated with LED lighting, but this is a factor that should not be overlooked or simply ignored in the analysis. Obviously, we do not know if this type of mandate will become an issue in Minnesota or when it might happen, but this is something that the MNLA and greenhouse growers should be aware of and should probably be thinking about ahead of time.
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