Lighting for agricultural enterprises can be used for a number of purposes: from lighting to navigate one’s way to or between buildings to increasing the productivity of plants, animals or people. A 2003 study of New York State dairy farms indicated that lighting accounted for 17 to 26% of the electricity used. There are a number of lighting technologies such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), T-8 / T5 linear fluorescent lamps, pulse-start metal halide lamps, high pressure sodium lamps and LED lamps that can substantially reduce energy consumption while increasing light quality and lamp life. These technologies have applications in homes, outdoors, greenhouses, dairy barns, farm shops and many other locations. This section contains information on the different types of lighting technologies, introduces some of the terminology used in the lighting industry, briefly describes some of the lighting control technologies and looks at issues involved in the selection of lighting for particular applications.


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Scott Sanford, Distinguished Outreach Specialist, University of Wisconsin,