LED Farms Could be the Growing Fields of the Future

As humans flock to cities and the surround them with suburban sprawl we have covered some of the most arable lands in concrete. This has caused problems of food security, access, and sustainability. Urban farming is nothing new and will continue to spread, but what about industrial-scale farming in cities?

A farmer in Japan has taken an old warehouse and modified it into an enamours and efficient farming operation using specialized low-powered LEDs.

The farm is nearly half the size of a football field (25,000 square feet). It opened on July and it is already producing 10,000 heads of lettuce per day. “I knew how to grow good vegetables biologically and I wanted to integrate that knowledge with hardware to make things happen,” Shimamura says.

The LED lights are a key part of the farm’s magic. They allow Shimamura to control the night-and-day cycle and accelerate growth. “What we need to do is not just setting up more days and nights,” he says. “We want to achieve the best combination of photosynthesis during the day and breathing at night by controlling the lighting and the environment.”

Shimamura says that the systems allows him to grow lettuce full of vitamins and minerals two-and-a-half times faster than an outdoor farm. He is also able to cut discarded produce from 50 percent to just 10 percent of the harvest, compared to a conventional farm. As a result, the farms productivity per square foot is up 100-fold, he says.

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LED Street Lights Save Los Angeles Millions

Four years ago Los Angeles decided to change its street lighting to LEDs and the results have come in and the savings are phenomenal. They have converted a little over half of all their street lights and are already saving $5,325,793 annually in lighting costs. It’s worth noting that LEDs use 80% less electricity than traditional lighting solutions while also providing better lighting for users of the street.

Hopefully the success that LA has seen will encourage other cities to make the switch to cheaper and more efficient lighting.

Maintenance savings are real, too: In 2008, pre-LED roll-out, Los Angeles logged 70,000 street light repair and maintenance events; in FY 2012, maintenance and repair events fell to 46,300. LEDs are longer lived than the incumbent units they replace (10-15 years versus 4-6 years), which means that maintenance should steadily decline as LED units are fully deployed. A remote monitoring system, installed with the LED fixtures, indentifies problems in real time.

LED fixtures also fail at a lesser rate than incumbent technologies. After 36 months of initial operation, for instance, high-intensity discharge (HID) fixtures in Los Angeles recorded an average failure rate of 10%; the average failure rate for LED fixtures, according to the latest figures, is 0.2% (189 of 98,000 installed). At full LED deployment, Los Angeles expects to save $2.5 million annually on maintenance costs.

Read more at Forbes.

LED Light Bulbs are Good Illuminators

LED light bulbs are far kinder on the environment than old style incandescent light bulbs and they’re selling very well! Looks like good light is shining on the environment.

In the past year, though, lighting manufacturers have introduced LED bulbs in a shape Edison would recognize that put out a decent amount of good-quality light. They still don’t give off light from all sides as incumbent technologies do, but this latest generation of LEDs does a better job dispersing light, which means that you could use one (or a few) for overhead lighting.

The best part is that the prices are coming down. The 40-watt equivalent general light bulb from Lighting Science Group, which is dimmable, costs just under $20. You can buy it online now and in Home Depot stores later this month, along with the LEDs from other manufacturers, including a ceiling down light from Cree.

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A Reflection of Your Water Consumption

A designer has created a nifty concept to show people how much water they use while they are in the washroom. A mirror visualizes how much water you are using thanks to LEDs and RFID technology so that while you are washing/looking at your face you can see your water consumption.

Designer Jin Kim’s idea is that the mirror breaks down daily, monthly and annual use of water. As you use too much water, there’s a control in the mirror so your supply can be limited. And if the lights are meaningless to the user, there are also icons for those who are affected by water misuse – kids, ecosystems, polar bears – so you’re guilted into shutting off the faucet.

At the end of a year, you can see your usage patterns and know what kind of progress you’ve made in trimming down your consumption.

More words and images at Treehugger.

Thanks Shea!

LED Cycling Jacket is a Winner

I have lights on my bike and I’m a safe rider; however, there is always room for improvenment. An inventor has created a jacket for cyclists that uses LED lights. The lights communicate to other cyclists and most importantly car drivers what the cyclist is doing. The jacket recently won an international design award. The BBC has the scoop.

The jacket uses an accelerometer to sense movement, changing the colour of LEDs on the back from green when accelerating, then to red when braking.

A tilt switch in the jacket also makes LEDs in the arm flash amber when the wearer lifts their arm to indicate a turn.

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