Using natural light without windows

You checked the windows in your house or apartment but your neighbor, the commandant of the local Home Security Militia waved to you as sunlight poured in through the window. So the window is out.
There are still opportunities for you. Both sunroofs and light tunnels can provide your garden with blessed sunlight. A 4′ x 8′ sheet of double-sheeted polycarbon plastic will supply the attic or top floor with ample light year-round. By building curtains to contain and reflect light, a garden can be sun-powered. Sun tunnels are used to capture light from the roof and guide it through the attic and to your grow room. They come at least as wide as a 22 inches in diameter. The advantage of sunroofs and light tunnels is that it is impossible to view the garden beneath them, and the signs of gardens that police often look for ? heat buildup and high electric bills ? are not present.

Another way to keep the electric bill down is to generate your own electricity. This is easiest to do on the grid because you don’t have to invest in batteries for storage. Instead, the electric company buys your excess production. The meter goes both ways. Sometimes you’re buying current and the meter moves forward. Other times, such as on sunny summer days, you produce more than you use. Then the meter runs in reverse.

In California, the companies will zero out your bill, but will not pay cash for excess electricity you produce. The state has incentive programs for homeowners to install solar electric panels. Solar panels can generate enough electricity in sunny areas to leave you with a very small electric bill, even while supplying power-hungry indoor lights.

Readers with grow questions (or answers) should send them to Ed at: Ask Ed, PMB 147, 530 Divisadero St., San Francisco, California 94117, USA. You can also email Ed at [email protected], and send queries via his websites at All featured questions will be rewarded with a copy of Ed’s new book, Best of Ask Ed: Your Marijuana Questions Answered. Sorry, Ed cannot send personal replies to your questions.