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P.L. Light Projects

Rainbow Greenhouses

Rainbow Greenhouses in Chilliwack, BC, is a grower of potted plants, ornamentals, bedding plants and cut flowers and supplies many of the largest retailers in Western Canada including Walmart, Home Depot and Ikea. During the fall and winter seasons, this grower uses supplemental lighting to ensure the quality of their plants.

Project Details

Location: Chilliwack, BC and Iron Springs, AB

Crop: Potted, ornamental & bedding plants

Luminaire: NXT2

Reflector: Alpha

Project Results

The Vander Waal family has worked diligently to grow their family-owned business from a 3,000 square foot poly house in 1985—selling product to Seattle florists—to now managing over 4.5 million square feet of some of the most advanced glass-covered growing facilities in Chilliwack, BC, and Iron Springs, Alberta.  

“We have been blessed with success,” says Stan, who continues to run the business with his wife Wilma and his family members. “We have been able to build strong relationships with our customers and we do it by hard work, delivering consistently and by growing quality product.”  

Stan began the business in the mid-80s with his wife Wilma with just his father’s borrowed truck and a small poly hoop house growing flowers. He drove from Chilliwack over the border to Seattle, selling cut flowers and bedding plants to florists in the city, before driving home. Stan and Wilma now both run the business as owners, and have hundreds of staff, as well as a fleet of trucks operating daily delivering product as far as Manitoba.   

A Key to Success: Embracing New Technology

One key element to being able to deliver high quality products consistently and on time, has been Rainbow Greenhouse’s commitment to embracing new technology in its growing operations. “You need to give your growers the tools they need to produce,” explains Stan. Some of these tools include modern updated lighting, flood floors, climate control systems, ventilation systems and more. 

Stan noted that the company began growing plants in poly covered houses when they first expanded their business, and by the mid 2010s the company made the decision to start installing glass greenhouses based on the plants’ performance, and the ability to control the indoor climate more effectively to meet customer deadlines and demands.  

Lighting Retrofit Project

The year-round production of flowering crops, is highly dependent on the light environment. Of course, in more northern latitudes, the hours of daylight decrease as the seasons shift from summer into winter.  When a grower uses supplemental lighting, crop cycles are not limited by natural day length or intensity. This is important because growers don’t have to worry about delayed scheduling due to outside environmental factors that might otherwise cause bottlenecks. 

In 2021, Rainbow Greenhouses then decided to undergo retrofitting additional greenhouse space due to increased requests from suppliers. During the pre-construction phase, Stan explained, it was determined that the greenhouse areas being upgraded – which would be housing potted plants – would require supplemental lighting.  


Choosing HPS Luminaires

After carefully analyzing luminaires from various light companies, Rainbow Greenhouses chose the 1000W NXT2 HPS luminaire with the Alpha reflector from P.L. Light Systems to light five zones in their facilities. One of the main reasons the company chose P.L. Light Systems, noted Stan, was that the company could meet the delivery dates needed to complete the greenhouse expansion on time. 

As well, the NXT2 could supply the light intensity needed to meet their needs, and the price of the luminaires was competitive with other suppliers. The efficiency of HPS luminaires in transferring radiant heat delivers a positive effect on air temperature for plant development and offsets heating costs in the winter—something Stan says is quite valuable, especially for their Alberta location. 

What P.L. Light Systems Provided

P.L. Light Systems NXT2 DE HPS 1000W luminaries with Alpha reflectors for the two facilities to deliver an average PPFD of 96 µmol/m2/s. The lights are generally turned on to extend the daylight hours in the greenhouse in mid-October, notes Stan, and are used until approximately mid-March depending on how long the winter season lingers and the spring season progresses. 

With the additional lighting supplied by P.L. Light Systems, Rainbow Greenhouses is looking forward to many more successful years of supplying high quality potted plants, ornamentals and bedding plants to its customers in Western Canada.  

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