Episode 6 : Fluence LED Grow Lights - Best in the industry?


Fluence Lighting does not take light for granted. In fact, they dove headfirst down the rabbit hole. They have battled through algorithms, spectrums, micromoles, and diodes only to come out the other side with the most efficient, effective and science driven lighting system on the market.

As you will hear multiple times in this video, the defining characteristic of Fluence Lighting is the research and design that goes into their products. Which is only second to their superior customer support. What that means is that you aren’t just buying a light that was rushed to market; you’re getting a product that was built on data and science. You aren’t left just holding a receipt - the Fluence team will help you set up and maintain your investment as long as you still have breath in you lungs.

Let’s touch on the science of fluence lighting. What makes them so different? For starters, Fluence lighting is a full spectrum light, meaning one lighting system can carry you plant from its vegetative state all the way to flower. If mounted properly, 6-8 inches above the canopy, Fluence lights are some of the most efficient on the market by delivering the most available light to your canopy. This means no wasted watts, which translates to no wasted money. This allows the red diode heavy light to help trigger your plant into flowering once you have altered the photo period. They also serve to help your plant express its morphogenetic expression of its genetic characteristics. In laments terms it lets your flower grow to the best of its genetic ability. It can affect potency, alkaloid profile, and ratios of active cannabinoids.

Another huge benefit of LED lighting is the return on investment. Yes, LED lights cost more than their competitors. But you must look at the big picture. With an LED set up you no longer have the reoccurring cost of bulb replacement. You reduce your labor costs that go into replacing the bulbs and as I point out in the video, this also has an environmental kick back. You’re reducing the amount of heat in the room which, in turn, reduces the strain put on your environmental controls and reduces waste. I’m not going to go on a rant but everything we can do as an industry to build a more sustainable business model will get us closer to becoming a shining example of large commercial scale business effectively reducing our carbon footprint. Because of this energy efficiency, your company can also apply for rebates from your state for using LED lighting. So, you’re not only helping the environment, you’re being rewarded for it.

            Overall, it’s safe to say that LED lighting is the future and Fluence is the Louis and Clark of their market. But don’t take my word for it, PLEASE. I’m just the guy in the videos and its my job to tell you what we think is best. I encourage you to spend some time on www.Fluence.science to see how much tech and testing goes into create these amazing lights. If you don’t like information from the horse’s mouth, I encourage you to reach out to our on Josh Armitage ( josha@growgeneration.com ) who is our in house lighting expert and has spent nearly two decades working with all the major lighting companies that have come and gone over the years. His word on what is best for your set up is as good as gold.

 

[0:00] Music

[0:16] Eric: So, today we’re talking about lighting, and very specifically we’re talking about a brand that we have decided to have a preferred partnership with and that is Fluence Lighting, who seems to be at the top of the lighting game right now. Um, really doing groundbreaking work in the LED front. So, I mean, Andrew, what would you say is the number one reason a person would convert from the old system of metal hi-li or high pressure sodium to a new LED system?

[0:43] Andrew: Well, whether you are building out a new project or you’re retrofitting an old one, Uh, in my mind, the, the clear and obvious reason why you’d want to consider LED tech as an alternative to high intensity discharge lighting is the return on investment.

[1:00] Eric: Meaning that you’re going to pay for an initial upfront cost, but there’s less maintenance on the backend?

[1:05] Andrew: Meaning that bottom line, you’re going to get a greater return on your investment dollar. Uh, yes, you will spend a little bit more uh, in setting up, uh, an LED grow um, verses HID lighting. But, uh, the return on investment is significantly better, and there are a number of reasons why.  

[1:25] Eric: I know that Fluence has been really big on the fact that, you know, there’s no wasted micromoles for the surface of the lighting surface. Meaning that, you know, every micromole that goes off of your pla…, or doesn’t hit your plant, is wasted money, basically. So, you know, can you kind of touch on that a little bit in this...?

[1:39] Andrew: Well, I mean, to simplify that a little bit, maybe, I would just say that per watt of electricity used, the Fluence lighting is maximizing the uh, available usable light that plants are able to perceive within their uh, spectrum.  

[1:57] Eric: Absolutely. And, just to be clear, if you are mounting a Fluence light, they do recommend that it’d be six to eight inches above the canopy. You know, and another thing um, that I think is really cool about the, the Fluence lights is that it’s a full-spectrum, meaning that, you know, it’s good from veg to bloom. And, I’ve noticed that it’s, you know, you can see very clearly when you turn the light on, that it’s very heavy in red, red diodes. Uh, what would be the reason for that?

[2:20] Andrew: The red diodes are going to be very influential in triggering the plant to start flowering, once you have altered the photo period. Uh, the inclusion of red and far red light also has some unique effects on morphogenetic expression of plant characteristics. And what I mean by that uh, is that the quality of the light will have an impact on how the plant expresses its, its genetic characteristics. And this can range from, um, germination of seed to how lengthy the plant grows or how it elongates, the internodal spacing, um, as well as the time that it takes for a plan to start flowering. Uh, the time that it takes for a plant to finish flowering. The alkaloid profile that will come from that plant is, at least, to some effect, to some degree, contingent upon the quality of the light that’s being presented to it.

[3:23] Eric: So, let’s say we had, you know, a controlled test - Plant A, Plant B. Plant A is grown under LED, plant B’s grown under high-pressure sodium, let’s say in the full flowering stage, what are some characteristics you would see almost immediately between, between the two?  

[3:37] Andrew: Uh, generally speaking, you will see slightly shorter plants that are stacking a little bit tougher.

[3:43] Eric: In the LED setup?

[3:44] Andrew: Yes, absolutely. Meaning, and when I say that stacking a little bit tougher, what I mean is that the internodal spacing is uh, is shrunk down, so you tend to get flowers that are, uh, stacking bigger at the top and the uniformity of light uh, because of the way that the bars are mounted above the canopy, prevents, uh presents a very uniform uh, light presentation to the canopy. Um, but, getting back to this morphogenetic piece of the equation, what you might also expect to see there would be some emergent properties that are coming from the genetics that you’re working with, and this may vary a bit from strain to strain. Um, but the quality of the light, again, will have some bearing on the potency, the alkaloid profile, um, the ratios of one active cannabinoid to the next.

[4:35] Eric: Awesome. And, you know, another thing that I’ve heard a great deal from everyone that works with Fluence, um, is that they are a very - and this, I mean, for me really hits home, because I’m a very science-based thinker, and I get a little frustrated in this industry sometimes because a lot of things seem to be based on opinion with no actual data to back it up. Just, you know we’ve done it this way for 30 years, this is how we’re going to continue to do it. Um, and it, what I love about Fluence is that they do the research. They gather the data, and then they build their products to that data. And I… I think that’s amazing. I think that’s something that, you know, we could use more of in this industry, for sure.

[5:11] Andrew: I think they’ve done a really good job of looking at the evolution of lighting in this industry, looking at what are the pros and cons of existing technology, like HID, high-pressure sodium, ceramic metal halides, and then uh, modifying their own technology to maximize productivity.

[5:30] Eric: Awesome. And yeah, I’ve heard nothing but good things, in the sense that if, if you need help drilling in or dialing in your system they are available all the time, anytime, and more than happy to help. Really, you know, like I said, dial in the system to your needs and specifications.

[5:48] Andrew: Their tech team is excellent, and they are available as a resource uh, all the way through the process, uh, they are available to help with everything from light mapping um, mapping intensity in an area so that you get just the exact level of intensity and distribution that you are desiring, uh, throughout a, uh, a grow area or a uh, a space that you’re working with, uh, and their tech team has great follow-through. It’s uh, it is most definitely a partnership that you are buying into when you buy Fluence lighting.

[6:22] Eric: Yeah. And, I think that’s awesome, because, um, if you have any experience whatsoever in the cannabis industry or the hemp industry you’ll notice very quickly there’s a lot of junk out there and there’s a lot of companies that don’t stand behind their products. And once they get a receipt to you, um, they’re kind of done with you, and it’s your problem. Whether it be, you know, a product malfunctioning or not performing the way it was promised to performance, or you know, pardon my language, just being a shitty product that doesn’t do what it says it’s gonna do. And I, I really enjoy seeing a company, especially coming from the culinary background, where, you know, perfection and customer satisfaction is the primary goal. Um, Fluence definitely seems to be a company that is driven on making their customers happy and seeing good results and I think that comes from, you know, just being passionate about what you do.

[7:12] Andrew: I think, uh, that’s very true. And I think uh, a great example of that uh, and one thing that would be worth discussing in this context, would also be uh, you know we’ve talked a lot about return on investment as being one of the big incentives for looking at LEDs vs. HID lighting. Well, rebates, uh, from the utility companies has become a, a big piece of the return on investment.

[7:35] Eric: Yeah, you’re getting, you’re getting reimbursed for using a more light, or energy-efficient light source.

[7:39] Andrew: You’ve got it. Most of the utility companies in various different markets around the United States are, at this point, offering some level of rebate for usage of more energy-efficient lighting, whether you’re doing a new build out or whether you’re retrofitting an existing build out, and Fluence, one of the many things that they do that, uh, is, is fantastic in the customer service area, is they will actually get involved and help facilitate the paperwork and the submission of whatever forms need to happen in order to get those uh, rebates for your company. 

[8:15] Eric: And, you know, I think that touches on a greater point, and you know, this is a very new industry. Um, I think we have an opportunity here to separate ourselves from more classic industries like, you know, food production, livestock, automotive, whatever it may be. In the sense that, look, we have a limited amount of resources. There's only so much water, there’s so much land, landmass. I’m not a big fan of somebody having to just throw away thousands of light bulbs and change them out everyday. And I’m not a fan of, you know, just spiking your electric bill and just pumping out as much wattage as unnecessary wattage. Um, because that has an impact on our environment, and you know, I’m not the most like, save the earth kind of guy. I do want to save the earth, but it’s not like, um, something I think about every day, but when I have the opportunity I do like to be environmentally conscious in my choices and I think that’s something going forward in this industry. I see a lot of waste.

[9:10] Andrew: I would agree, and I would say that’s true, in a, in a number of different areas, ranging from, uh, again, you talked about diodes, or you touched on diodes, the, the typical lifespan of the Osram diodes that are found in the Fluence lighting, uh, is upwards of 10 years or 100,000 hours, whereas your typical high-pressure sodium lamp is uh, being replaced, uh, somewhere between 10-20,000 hours. And uh, yeah. That’s a, that’s a lot of bulbs, that’s a lot of waste, it’s a lot of labor. Uh, you’ve got staff climbing up on ladders, uh changing out 200 bulbs in a facility every, uh 12 months or every 6 months.

[9:52] Eric: Yeah, and if homeboy falls off the ladder and hurts himself, your cost per light just went way up.

[9:56] Andrew: Yes, it did, indeed. To look at it simply, the, the amount of energy that is required to produce the same amount of usable light is significantly less for an LED light vs. a high-pressure sodium, and then correspondingly, the amount of energy that is required to offset the heat production and control the climate variables is also significantly reduced.

[10:21] Eric: Would you say you’re going to get a higher yield from an LED light, typically?

[10:23] Andrew: Yes, I would say, over time you will get a higher yield if uh, you want to look at it in terms of grams per watt or whatever metric you want to look at.

[10:32] Eric: I’ve seen this as a characteristic in every high-end grow that I’ve been in, and that is that, um, the spider specifically and Fluence lighting in general, is very much built for vertically-integrated growth. Um, can you kind of explain why that may be and what the benefits of that are?

[10:46] Andrew: Absolutely. Uh, well, the bene… well, let’s start with the benefits. Um, take uh, a given number square feet that you have that you can put canopy into. Well, uh, regardless of how great your lights are and how great your grow is and how dialed in everything is, uh, there’s a maximum that you’re going to be able to produce per square foot. Well, uh, there’s going to be a limited number of square feet you can occupy. The one way to quickly go around that is to go up. Uh, so you can generally uh, you know, you can take LEDs three, four tiers up, uh, utilizing various different rolling rack systems that are out there or uh, standard pallet racking like you see behind us.

[11:26] Eric: So, that’s a really key point. Let's just think about this in simple numbers. If you were using a very standard, you know, single-layer design with uh, high-pressure sodium, you’ve got 10 plants, you’ve got room for 10 plants. Well, with this system, you have room for 20 plants, 30 plants, 40 plants, depending on how high you want to go. So, I mean, that, that’s pretty big difference as far as production per square foot.

[11:47] Andrew: You got it. And the way, again, the way that the spider two eyes are laid out with the bar, uh, it really is a hand-in-glove fit with pallet rack style growing that is vertically integrated, because the uniformity is, is so consistent and the distance from canopy has been reduced, the distance, the the active distance that you need to keep those lights away from your canopy has been fairly notably reduced with Fluence lighting. Uh, and that allows you to maximize whatever vertical space you have available to you.

[12:21] Eric: Awesome. So, yeah, I mean, I just I really want to encourage the viewer. I mean, I spent a good bit of time on the Fluence website and if you’re a science person, you’re a data person, you are just going to geek out on their website. They have a ton of information 

[12:36] Andrew: They do have a lot of great content with regards to photosynthesis, how plants are taking the available light and the, the spectrum of that light and turning it into energy and how efficiently they do that.

[12:49] Eric: So, thank you, everybody for tuning in. Again, Andrew, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to come, you know, just download us with the plethora of information that’s stored inside that brain of yours. Um, one thing I want to really encourage you guys - stop by one of our 25 locations - we’re nationwide. Also, you know, pick up some stock because we’re now officially on the nasdaq. Really excited about that big step forward. Um, but more importantly, you know, this is like soil, like anything else we’re going to cover in this series, this is a very in-depth subject, so these videos are just covering the surface of the considerations you need to make when trying to decide on what products and what designs to go into your facility. So, do not hesitate to reach out to our commercial account manager team, stop by one of our stores, and just pick our brains. We are here 100% of the time for your success. So, you know, thanks for tuning in and um, Happy Holidays!

[13:44] Music

[13:48] Eric: Thanks for tuning in. If you’d like to find out more about the product we just went over in this video, click on the link in the description below. Down there, you’ll also find all the contact information to get directly in touch with me. Please make sure to subscribe and check out some of our other videos, as well.

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