The U.S. Congress has mandated energy efficiency standards for incandescent and fluorescent lamps. The Department of Energy has ordered the phase out of incandescent lamps and the T12 type fluorescent lamps commonly used in plant growth chambers.
In order to comply with the regulations and to help meet Duke University’s carbon neutrality commitment, the Phytotron, in collaboration with Environmental Growth Chambers (EGC), has undertaken an investigation of the use of light-emitting diodes (LED) in growth chambers.
The newer LED light sources may produce sufficient light for plant growth, and have better power conversion efficiencies than the early model LEDs. LED lights also produce much less radiant heat than incandescent and fluorescent lamps. The combined energy savings in electrical power and less radiant heat may be substantial.
In our study we are growing several plant species under the LED lights, and measuring the energy use and heat load of the LED lights vs. the conventional fluorescent lamps. We have received a third generation LED light source engineered by EGC, and in January 2012 will begin growing plants under this newest version.