Going Greener: Five Ways to Reduce your Growroom’s Environmental Impact
While growing your own food does wonders for the environment, hydroponic systems still use a lot of energy. Luckily, there are at least five ways you can reduce your growroom’s environmental impact.
You’ve probably prided yourself on being green because you grow your own crops through hydroponics, and yes, this should be saluted. After all, you are bringing in a crop that you find beneficial and have possibly already incorporated a lot of ways to be green in your growing methods.
However, it’s easy sometimes to forget that hydroponic systems do consume a great deal of energy, require chemicals, and generate waste. In other words, there’s always more ways you can reduce your growroom’s environmental impact; here are five to get you started.
Most LED grow lights aren’t overly expensive to put into your growroom, and this can be a good baby step towards reducing the amount of energy you’re consuming. Depending on your current set-up, this may be as simple as changing the type of bulbs you buy. However, you may have to invest in completely new grow lights. Still, this could be a bonus way to reduce your environmental impact as you can look for equipment that uses less energy than your previous set-up.
Another relatively simple change you can make to reduce your growroom’s environmental impact is your growing media. Currently, you may be guilty of using a subtrate for a short time and then tossing it rather than trying to clean it because it’s less labor. Instead, try using a growing media that can be reused to prevent waste. Examples include grow rock, growstone hydroponic substrate, and water-absorbing crystals. It’s worth it to take the extra time to clean what you can reuse again.
It’s often tempting to just use the same measure of nutrients on a regular basis, but this can be another way you’re negatively impacting the environment in your growroom. More may not necessarily be better, as your plants may just not be taking in all the available nutrients. This can keep nutrients in your hydroponic system, and in some cases, you may be negatively impacting the health of your crops if they are getting too much of certain nutrients.
Instead, test your system to see what nutrients are needed in what amount. Then, you can add just what is necessary. Not only will this help reduce your growroom’s environmental impact, but will also help your wallet in the long-run because you won’t be buying as many nutrients as you were before implementing the testing.
Repurposing Spent Nutrients Outside
When your nutrients have served their purpose in your hydroponic system indoors, use them outside instead of just figuring out the best way to dump them. After all, your plants outside can benefit greatly from these nutrients. To up your environmental cred even more, you may want to create a small wetland in your backyard; there are plenty of instructions available online.
A backyard wetland is the perfect place for dumping your wastewater as it will put it back into the water cycle in a positive manner. Sure, this can be costlier than just watering your outdoor plants with spent nutrients, but it adds some good karma to your green lifestyle.
In your efforts to reduce the environmental impact of your growroom, you may be focused on your hydroponic system instead of the building itself. However, there may be some ways you can help reduce your energy output and environmental impact by changing the room’s structure.
Some examples are putting in new windows that are built to be energy efficient, sealing up any cracks or openings in the walls, and insulating the walls. Each of these actions will help keep the heating bills down because your heat will stay indoors rather than escape outside.
You may find that you’ve already implemented some of these five ways to reduce your growroom’s environmental impact, and that’s great. Give yourself a pat on the back, but then start evaluating even more things that you can do to reduce your impact. You’ll be glad that you did when your energy bills drop and your crops come out looking just as gorgeous as always.
Written by Shannon McKee | Freelance Writer, Gardener
Shannon McKee lives in Ohio and has been a freelance writer for several years now, including on her blog, whyiwah.blogspot.com. Nicknamed by loved ones a garden hoarder over the past few years, she grows a wide variety of plants in her urban garden.