There’s no denying it — energy costs have risen exponentially in recent times, and are only set to keep climbing in the coming years. As you consider starting an indoor garden, it’s only natural to want to know what that is going to cost you, beyond the indoor growing gear, seeds, and plants you are investing in.
The myth that you need 1,000-watt grow lights to successfully cultivate your plants to the point of an abundant and healthy harvest is a persistent one. Thankfully, as a result of technological innovations, it is simply not true.
The fuel consumption associated with your indoor garden will, of course, depend on the size of that garden, as well as on the quality of the gear you are using. Here is a quick look at the factors that influence the numbers — in Kilowatt-hours, as well as dollars — you can expect to see on your utility bill.
The Type of Lighting You Use
The myth that using a grow light takes 1,000 watts comes from a time during which High-Intensity Discharge (HID) was the most popular option for indoor gardening ventures. These efficient lights never fail to produce enormous yields, but they also guzzle energy. That’s not only because the lights themselves are power-hungry, but also because they produce so much heat that they necessitate the use of air conditioning to care for your plants. This type of setup risks damaging plants, so lower electricity costs are far from the only reason to choose a setup fit for the 21st Century.
Next-generation LED grow lights represent an upfront investment, but this type of full-spectrum lighting offers numerous advantages. You will be able to use the same light through your plants’ vegging and flowering stages, with a simple flick of a switch. A 2,000 watt LED grow light also uses only around 300 watts, and covers around three square feet — which amounts to approximately 32 watt per square foot.
Vegging vs Flowering and Autoflowering Plants
Your electricity bill also, quite simply, depends on the number of hours per day during which your grow lights are active. During vegging and for autoflowering plants, this can be anywhere from 18 to 24 hours per day, but during the flowering phase, 12 hours will be sufficient.
The Size of Your Indoor Garden
The more grow lights you are running, the higher your power bill is going to be — an inescapable fact of life.
Cooling and Ventilation Systems
No matter what lighting system you use for your indoor garden, it will generate heat — as will your crops’ natural growth. To eliminate excess heat, you will need an inlet and extraction fan system, which also uses its fair share of electricity.
The Cost of Power in Your Locality
This almost goes without saying, but the cost of electricity, in Kilowatt-hours, in your locality also plays a large role in determining your electricity bill.
Once you know how many watts you use per hour for your indoor garden, figure out the cost of energy per KWH, and know how many hours per day you will be running your lights and other indoor growing equipment, you will be able to calculate how much energy your indoor garden consumes.