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Comparisons of luminaires: Efficacies and system designLighting designs for architectural (aesthetic) purposes, vision and safety, and plant growth have many features in common but several crucial ones that are not. The human eye is very sensitive to the color (wavelength) of light, whereas plants are less so. There are morphological reactions, particularly to the red and blue portions of the light spectrum but, in general, plants appear to accept and use light for photosynthesis everywhere over the PAR region of the spectrum. In contrast, the human eye interprets light intensity on a logarithmic scale, making people insensitive to significant differences of light intensity. As a rough rule, light intensity must change by 30 to 50% for the human eye to recognize the difference. Plants respond much more linearly to light energy, at least at intensities below photosynthetic saturation. Thus, intensity differences not noticeable to the human eye can have significant effects on total plant growth and yield, and crop timing. These factors make luminaire selection and lighting system design particularly important when designing supplemental lighting systems for plant growth. Supplemental lighting for plant growth on the scale of commercial greenhouses is a relatively expensive undertaking. Light intensities are often much higher than required for task (vision) lighting, which increases both installation and operating costs. However, and especially in the northern regions of the United States (and Canada, Europe, etc.), supplemental lighting during winter may be necessary to produce certain crops (e.g., tomatoes) and very useful to achieve full plant growth potential and crop timing with most other greenhouse crops. Operating costs over the life of a luminaire typically will exceed the initial investment, making lighting efficacy a major consideration. This report reviews tests completed to evaluate the efficiencies of various commercially-available High-Pressure Sodium luminaires, and then describes the results of using a commercial lighting design computer program, Lumen-Micro, to explore how to place luminaires within greenhouses and plant growth chambers to achieve light (PAR) uniformity and relatively high lighting efficacies. Several suggestions are presented which could encourage systematic design of plant lighting systems.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Albright, L. D. (Cornell Univ. Ithaca, NY, United States)
Both, A. J. (Cornell Univ. Ithaca, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Wisconsin Univ., International Lighting in Controlled Environments Workshop
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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