Indoor vertical farms require a lot of light in order to produce vibrant, fresh greens, which is why a growing trend in vertical farming is to take advantage of a tall building’s facade. Still, indoor vertical farms are increasing in number and may help to feed growing urban populations, which is why this fancy looking indoor garden lit with bright pink lights, or pinkhouse, may become part of the cost-effective farm of the future.
While the white lights illuminating each individual shelf in most indoor farms use all colors of the ROYGBIV light spectrum, these pink lights use only red and blue, which are the only wavelengths a plant really needs in order to grow well.
Researchers at Purdue University are studying the use of these pink lights on plants, and Caliber Biotherapeutics, a medicinal plant growing facility, is already using pink lights on its 150,000 square foot farm in Texas. The 50-foot tall unit grows 2.2 million plants with pink lights, which were designed by EEA Consulting Engineers. Not only do the lights save a lot of energy, but they have also resulted in a 20% quicker growth rate. The LED lights used also produce much less heat, which means they can be placed closer to plants without a hazard and help cut down on cooling costs.
Unfortunately, this is still a very costly farming method, and Caliber Biotherapeutics CEO Barry Holtz says that right now, it is mostly ideal for specialty crop growers such as himself. He is currently growing a tobacco-like plant that will help develop new vaccines and drugs.
Either way, less energy consumption in general is always a good thing, and with the LED lighting industry innovating and its products becoming more efficient, it’s not unlikely that more and more indoor farms will begin to utilize this calmer source of light.