LED lighting company Lighting Science announced a first of its kind collaboration with the Manhattan-based Lowline Lab. The Lowline Lab is a precursor and testing ground for The Lowline, the world’s first underground park.
Lighting Science has created a custom LED grow lighting for The Lowline, an underground facility about the size of a football field. In addition to Lighting Science, The Lowline is also collaborating with renowned landscape architecture firm Matthew Nielsen, horticulturalists John Mini of Distinctive Landscapes, international engineering firm Arup, and architecture firm RAAD.
“Lighting Science’s groundbreaking LED indoor grow lighting positions them as a leader in their field and the perfect collaborative partner for the Lowline LAB,” said James Ramsey, inventor of the Lowline and principal of Raad Studio.
Growing Plants Underground
Last year, Lighting Science worked with the Lowline Lab to develop, donate and install 24 adjustable LED lights into the 1000-square-foot aluminum canopy. The Lowline Lab has about 3500 plants underground.
Lighting Science suspended custom developed LED grow lights above the earthy installation.
The newly developed grow lights have a 2-foot diameter hexagonal shape.
The specially created lights feature three settings: one provides soft-white light, one mimics daylight, and one employs Lighting Science’s patented VividGro™ LED indoor grow light spectrum technology.
Lighting Science tailored VividGro patented light spectrum to the indoor agriculture and horticultural markets. The company contends that VividGro has been proven to decrease energy consumption by up to 45 percent or more in grow light environments, increase plant yields by up to 30 percent, and increase crop nutritional density by about 10-12 percent.
In addition to using the light from the VividGro technology, the lab also uses prototype funnel-like solar installations that magnify the light from the sun and direct beams to surrounding plant life.
“It’s wonderful getting involved with a group of passionate people to do something new and of great value,” said Fred Maxik, founder and chief technology officer of Lighting Science and inventor of VividGro. “Our job, fitting light into novel forms and functions, complements their amazing vision of bringing closed urban environments to vivid life with light.”
With the combination of the VividGro LED panels and Lowline Lab’s remote sunlight technology, co-founders Dan Barasch and James Ramsey observed that even on the darkest winter day, they could achieve the necessary light intensity, duration, and spectrum for a broad range of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and plants to thrive.
“You know you’re onto something when you can grow pineapples and tomatoes during a New York winter underground,” said Ramsey.
The Lowline, a Garden Oasis in a Reimagined Urban Space
The plant life in the Lowline Lab has been thriving for the past year. The lab has shown the world how to create a sustainable environment for a subterranean ecosystem. The Lowline team is developing new solutions for creating a year-round garden oasis that can even be beneath the urban expanse.
Set to open in 2021, The Lowline will take what was learned at the Lowline lab and expand it into an area 40 times the size (40,000 square feet) that will operate as the world’s first underground park. The park will enable a diverse range of flora and fauna to experience natural photosynthesis without direct access to sunlight.
The Lowline team hopes that its development, opening, and operation will provide new technology solutions for sustainably-grown local food production as well as indoor horticulture and agriculture
Urban planners of the City of New York approved the Lowline in August.
Since its approval, municipal leaders around the world have been waiting and watching the Lowline team’s effort to transform an abandoned underground trolley terminal on the Lower East Side of New York City into a botanical garden in one of the world’s densest urban environments.