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Speakers Horticultural Lighting Conference announced

"How does LED technology benefit a growing business?"

It’s hard to ignore the fact that summer is waning; it makes us consider the traditional harvest period from August through fall. But since you can achieve year-round crops in many operations when you apply science and technology to the agricultural world, that’s more of a nostalgia-driven note on days long gone…

Summer is coming to a close and the fall season will bring the Horticultural Lighting Conference at October 9th. The knowledge base and backgrounds of the speakers are quite diverse, which is what you need when addressing the many facets of an application as complex as horticultural lighting. This year, the program has unveiled a theme of solid-state lighting (SSL) design best practices, quality control for performance needs, and capitalizing on the energy-efficiency benefits of LED technology and how to put that back into a grower operation.

A picture of Horticultural Lighting Conference Europe in Utrecht on May 15: Q&A with John Bullock, Koen Vangorp, Xavier Dennis and John Blakey.

Keynote speaker will be Erik Runkle, PhD, a professor at Michigan State University responsible for developing the university’s vertical farming research facility known as CELL (Controlled-Environment Lighting Laboratory). You can get some really interesting inside looks at CELL and the work Runkle’s colleagues and students have been a part of on the MSU College of Agriculture & Natural Resources extension website, which includes some engaging videos. In any case, Runkle has been associated with a multi-channel horticultural lighting system that includes an ultraviolet (UV) LED channel. And we’re anticipating he will have some unique insights into light recipes for various cultivars that have been used in the experiments.

Matt Gaboury, vice chair, Resource Innovation Institute (RII) – In his “day job,” Gaboury is managing partner at a prominent consulting firm for the cannabis growing industry, Calyx King Consulting, and also serves as vice chair of the RII board of directors. At the conference, he will be representing RII, a non-profit organization that helps cannabis growers to use resources efficiently and build sustainable businesses while engaging with stakeholders, government representatives, and utilities to understand how cannabis growing impacts resources and how operations can be integrated into communities in a responsible, ethical, and economically feasible manner. From planning and construction to energy usage and more, Gaboury has a wealth of business and political knowledge that will explore new angles regarding the opportunities and challenges in horticultural lighting. Some recognizable SSL industry members among RII’s stable include Fluence Bioengineering, Heliospectra, and BIOS Lighting, just FYI.

Nadia Sabeh, PhD, owner of Dr. Greenhouse
 – Dr. Sabeh has been designing climate conditioning systems (HVAC) for indoor growing operations for almost 20 years. An agricultural and mechanical engineer, Sabeh has spent much of her career optimizing ventilation and evaporative systems with sustainability goals in mind. She has gained in-depth knowledge of the unique aspects of controlled environment agriculture (CEA), which we also know as indoor farming, and provides a holistic approach to HVAC, energy usage, and conditions that are optimal for the plants involved in the project under design. Sabeh has spoken in the past at Strategies in Light and other grower-industry conferences. She is a co-chair with both the ASABE and ASHRAE standards organizations. Her experience with cultivars includes mushrooms, tomatoes, strawberries, and lettuces. Follow her on Instagram for horticultural project inspiration.

Kathleen Baughman, operation manager, Iwasaki Bros., Inc. – Based in Oregon, Iwasaki Bros. is a wholesale grower of flowers, vegetables, and herbs, supplying customers across the Northwest US. When energy costs began to cut into the company’s profits, the team knew it was time to seek changes in equipment. Baughman is clearly a knowledge seeker, having pursued additional educational opportunities from MSU online and the industry as a whole while overseeing trials of LED lighting versus more conventional high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting at commercial grower Iwasaki Bros. Pitting horticultural fixtures from both Philips Lighting (now Signify) and Fluence Bioengineering against HPS fixtures for the greenhouse supplemental lighting, Baughman has witnessed the results in growing the same plants under different light spectra. We look forward to finding out what she learned from the Iwasaki experiments.

Axel Pearson, technical manager, DesignLights Consortium (DLC) 
– Pearson, an avid supporter of sustainability efforts, has worked with various green businesses and coordinated energy-efficiency projects in the Pacific Coast and Northwest region. A recent addition to the DLC team, Pearson is tackling technical development of the DLC’s SSL program. During the conference, he will provide insights into the horticultural lighting technical requirements (which will have been published by then), and how the DLC plans to support and accelerate the transition to SSL in the horticultural environment.

Doug Oppedal, program manager, senior lighting specialist, Evergreen Consulting Group – Working with energy-efficiency consulting firm Evergreen, Oppedal collaborates with utility programs in the Pacific Northwest on training, research, program management, and other needs. He has served in many roles across the lighting industry, gaining perspective from past stints in the electrician field, as a lighting and controls specialist, and as a lighting designer. A big concern for end users of commercial-type LED lighting is the upfront cost and the complexity of how to plan a lighting installation. Oppedal will compare the features and performance of legacy sources to LED sources, and demonstrate examples of the financial outlay and payback of energy-efficient SSL.

Jeff Bisberg, CEO and president, Illumitex
 – Horticultural lighting provider Illumitex has focused on engineering light recipes to meet the needs of grower operations. Bisberg has experience in Internet of Things (IoT) technology and applications; having been CEO of LED luminaire manufacturer Albeo Technologies when it was acquired by GE in 2012, Bisberg knows product development for SSL, and his management background in IoT and data management certainly aligns with the Illumitex strategy of incorporating controls and data collection for improved horticultural lighting usage. He will participate in a panel on how connected lighting will shape the future of horticultural SSL.

Philip Smallwood, research director, Strategies Unlimited – Smallwood has been with the PennWell Media organization for nearly five years and has been conducting research in energy-related markets since 2007. Not only does he manage the preparation of market research reports, but he also co-chairs the Strategies in Light conference board and the Horticultural Lighting Conference. Smallwood has dived deeply into the market for horticultural lighting, the outlook for the market, and the barriers to the application that can provide SSL manufacturers with a roadmap for technical development. He has said before that revenue from horticultural SSL products will approach $3B by 2022. He will tell how the forecast may have changed and other details on this still-emerging market.

For more information:
Horticultural Lighting Conference

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