Greener way to grow pot?

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Greener way to grow pot?

Pagosa Springs man develops energy-efficient lights
Leo Hayes, CEO of Sonnylight, displays one of his grow lights in his home workshop outside of Pagosa Springs. The former Mitsubishi executive has developed the grow light, which uses different spectrums of light during different growth cycles of plants.
The logo of grow lights developed by Leo Hayes, CEO of Sonnylight of Pagosa Springs.
Vegetable plants are illuminated under grow lights developed by Leo Hayes, CEO of Sonnylight of Pagosa Springs.
Rosemary grows beneath the a Sonnylight fixture at April’s Garden in Durango.
An idea that just grew

They dreamed of a self-sustaining ranch in the Rockies.
When Leo and Pam Hayes moved to their Pagosa Springs ranch in 1997, the Silverton miner’s daughter and retired auto executive envisioned a ranch that would use renewable-energy sources and be a place where they could raise heritage animals and grow their own organic foods.
But the ranch’s location, at more than 8,000 feet above sea level, left them struggling to produce enough food, and many of the grow lights on the market threatened to drain all the energy they produced.
“We cook a lot with fresh herbs, and we wanted to have tomatoes all year long.” Pam Hayes said.
The dilemma, one many locals know well, led to the creation of Sonnylight, an international company that manufactures LED-driven grow-light systems for home and commercial use.
“The picture of what this could be kept getting bigger and bigger,” Leo Hayes said.
Jim Dyer, director of Durango’s Farm to School program, said people these days are more interested in nutrition and how their food is grown, leading cultivators to seek more energy-efficient and sustainable ways to grow food. Stretched budgets also are causing more people to consider home gardens to supplement their grocery lists, he said.
For those groups, Sonnylight products have “great appeal,” said Joe Keck, director of the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center.
The Sonnylight systems include patent-pending computer software that adjusts the light to the plant species being grown and where it is in the growth cycle.
The lights are delivered in “zero-waste” packaging that includes reusable cotton totes and biodegradeable materials that can be used for compost.
And they offer systems designed for both in-home and commercial use, with the smaller light systems using just 15 watts of energy to operate at an estimated annual electric cost of $10.
hscofield@durangoherald.com

Greener way to grow pot?

Leo Hayes, CEO of Sonnylight, displays one of his grow lights in his home workshop outside of Pagosa Springs. The former Mitsubishi executive has developed the grow light, which uses different spectrums of light during different growth cycles of plants.
The logo of grow lights developed by Leo Hayes, CEO of Sonnylight of Pagosa Springs.
Vegetable plants are illuminated under grow lights developed by Leo Hayes, CEO of Sonnylight of Pagosa Springs.
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Rosemary grows beneath the a Sonnylight fixture at April’s Garden in Durango.
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