Eindhoven, the Netherlands – Philips Lighting (Euronext Amsterdam ticker: LIGHT), a global leader in lighting, has announced that Iwasaki Bros., Inc., one of the largest wholesale growers of ornamental plants in the Northwest United States, has become an early adopter of Philips GreenPower LED toplighting on a large scale growing area of more than 27,000 square feet.
Only a few months into the installation, Iwasaki Bros., Inc. has already significantly increased production volume with faster growth, stronger, more compact roots and reduced crop loss while improving quality and reducing energy usage. Owner and General Manager Jim Iwasaki said, “We’ve shortened our crop cycle by up to three weeks, which means we can get an extra cycle of plants through a greenhouse and that’s both exciting and profitable.”
Many commercial growers want to test LED grow lights on a small scale before fully switching to LED lighting to make sure results justify the investment. Jim Iwasaki, on the other hand, is convinced that LEDs are revolutionizing the horticulture industry and he wanted to be one of the first to take advantage of them in his ongoing mission to “dominate the category.”
Growing bedding plants, perennials, hanging baskets and herbs at Iwasaki’s location in Portland, Oregon is a challenge because the growing season begins when annual light levels are at their lowest. Iwasaki has seen the benefits of HPS (high pressure sodium) lights, but they use a lot of energy, cause stretch and perform inconsistently over time.
Based on small trials with LEDs which improved the rooting and compactness of its plants, Iwasaki Bros., Inc. decided to make the big move to LEDs. The company has experienced a true partnership with Philips Lighting during this installation, which also provided key technical support and led the energy rebate process. Philips Lighting also provided feedback and growing advice from the plant specialist as the staff at Iwasaki Bros., Inc. learned how to grow under the new lights.
“The team at Iwasaki Bros., was intent right from preliminary discussions to ensure that they installed the initial phase of technology into the greenhouses in the correct manner,” said Ron DeKok, Director of Business Development for Philips Lighting’s Horticultural LED Solutions business in North America. “The implementation had to enhance the company’s production, be sustainable and energy efficient, and provide a return within a short payback period to ensure the long-term viability of the business. Together, we tailored a proposition to accomplish this.”
The LED installation at Iwasaki Bros., Inc., was undertaken with the support of Fred C. Gloeckner, a Philips Horticulture LED Partner, and a team from Philips Lighting. Iwasaki installed more than 500 Philips GreenPower LED toplights in three greenhouses used for unrooted cuttings, seed trays and finishing. Kathleen Baughman, Iwasaki’s Operations Manager said, “There has been a night and day difference in these plants from when we didn’t have the LEDs to this year.” Improvements achieved so far include faster rooting by 5-7 days, roots growing faster than the tops, reduced pre-transplant and post-transplant losses and finished crops ready for market from 1 to 3 weeks faster.
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