Future Farmer of America
Light equals energy to green plants. Special organs in each cell called chloroplasts gather the energy from visible light, mostly in the red and blue spectrums. Chlorophyll found in the chloroplasts uses the light to power chemical reactions. In a complex reaction the energy is used to cleave carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) molecules and recombine them to create sugar. (The formula is 6(H2O) 6(CO2) = C6H12O6 (sugar) 6O2 (oxygen)). Sugar is used as a food source by cells to fuel metabolism in addition to being used as a building block The more light marijuana receives, the more energy it has to produce sugar and grow.
A fluorescent light is inexpensive to purchase as compared with a high pressure sodium (HPS) lamp. However, the fluorescent has about half the efficiency of an HPS. A 1000 watt lamp emits about 130,000 lumens while a 72 watts, an 8 foot fluorescent emits 3,200 lumens. That comes to 130 and 45 lumens per watt, respectively. When the cost of electricity is considered the fluorescent is the higher priced option.
Fluorescent tubes distribute their light over a long distance, usually 4 or 8 feet. HPS lamps have a small point source, about 9 inches. The standard area that gardeners use to power gardens is usually about 4 feet x 4 feet. It is impossible to get that intensity of light using fluorescents.
Convenience should also play a part in your decision. It would require 13 8-foot fluorescents to equal the light capacity of one 1000 w HPS Adjusting one light is much easier than messing with three or four fluorescent fixtures.
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