Light trespass caused by the installation and use of LEDs and other lighting systems in greenhouse production facilities is the latest issue to arise in some communities across the USA and Canada. Many greenhouse operations did not think twice when it came to installing supplemental lighting for floriculture crops, hydroponic vegetables, or cannabis because of the inherent benefits that supplemental lighting will bring to their operation’s crops, writes Thomas Ford, Commercial Horticulture Educator at Penn State Extension, in his recent blog post.
When greenhouse lighting systems are first discussed in the lunchroom, growers and managers tend to focus on the benefits of supplemental lighting with nary a thought to the consequences that the installation of supplemental lighting may bring from the community that surrounds them. Growers operating in states with strong "right to farm” laws often feel insulated from litigation, but in many areas this state support seems to be waning.
Activists belonging to a variety of organizations are lobbying state and local leaders to enact ordinances which would require that all production lighting be contained within the greenhouse structure. Any light that leaks from the structure would be viewed as a light trespass violation which could subject the greenhouse operator to a variety of fines that can be levied by the local municipality that crafted these regulations or ordinances.
As a greenhouse operator you must be aware of this growing trend to restrict the amount of light escaping from illuminated greenhouses into neighboring communities. Most activists want regulations that require the installation and use of blackout curtains in greenhouses that can contain 98% of the light being produced by a greenhouse lighting system to the inside of the structure. For new greenhouses, the installation of blackout curtains is an added capital expense that when deployed correctly should minimize community complaints while maintaining your company’s compliance with new and/or existing light trespass ordinances.
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