UL Question Corner

Horticultural grow lights and plant oil processing

Q. Recent legislative changes in my state have resulted in many indoor horticultural grow operations. Does UL certify (list) grow lights and plant oil extraction booths that specifically address the hazards that may be associated with these grow operations?

A. Yes, UL does certify (list) horticultural grow luminaires as well as complete horticultural lighting systems and plant oil extraction booths.

Horticultural luminaires
Luminaires used for growing plants are very specialized. Equipment installed in a horticultural environment is commonly exposed to dust, water spray, high humidity levels, and high ambient temperatures. To maximize plant growth, horticultural lighting equipment can be designed with flexible cord and plug supply connections in lieu of a permanent connection to make the equipment adjustable. Horticultural lighting equipment also produces light wavelengths and intensities different than that needed for general illumination and requires additional protection for users against light exposure.

UL certifies (lists) these types of luminaires under the product category Horticultural Luminaires (IFAU). The basic Standard used to certify these products is UL 8800, Outline of Investigation for Horticultural Lighting Equipment. UL 8800 expands on the general safety requirements of ANSI/UL1598, the Standard for Safety of Luminaires, and includes additional requirements for construction and resistance to environmental conditions for lighting structures used to position and support horticultural luminaries. Certified luminaires for horticultural use are further evaluated for photobiological safety to verify that the light source does not pose a risk of optical injury to persons due to exposure necessary for the normal operation, maintenance, and servicing of the horticultural lighting equipment. The UL guide information and certifications for IFAU can be located on UL Product Spec at www.ul.com/productspec andhttp://www.ul.com/productspec enter IFAU at the category code search.

Horticultural lighting systems
In addition to horticultural luminaires, UL can certify complete horticultural lighting systems under the product category Horticultural Lighting Systems (HRTI). This category covers factory-built horticultural lighting systems specifically intended for growing flowers, vegetables, and other plants. Systems certified in this category are intended for installation in accordance with the National Electrical Code (NEC). Horticultural lighting systems consist of either free-standing frame structures or enclosed cabinets (non-walk-in type) incorporating or having provisions for one or more luminaires and other system elements such as controls, plumbing equipment (including pumps, valves, water lines, water reservoirs, etc.), power supplies, fans, and heating and cooling components. These lighting systems may include hydroponic, aeroponic, aquaponic, and other forms of irrigation systems. These lighting systems are investigated for compliance with UL 8800. The UL guide information and any certifications for HRTI can be located on UL Product Spec at www.ul.com/productspec and enter HRTI at the category code search.

Plant oil extraction equipment & systems
The popularity of extracting plant oils for commercial sale means that extraction processes are taking place in a variety of occupancies. Some methods used to extract plant oils can create fire and explosion hazards. One popular extraction method uses solvents such as liquid propane or liquid butane. The use of flammable solvents may result in a hazardous atmosphere. The equipment located in and around the extraction process must be suitable for the location.

UL certifies plant oil extraction booths under the product category Plant Oil Extraction Booths for Use in Hazardous Locations (QMCV). This category covers plant oil extraction booths for commercial or industrial applications involving hazardous (classified) locations. These booths are for fixed installation in accordance with the NEC, IFC, NFPA 1 Fire Code, and the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The prefabricated booths covered under this category — including modified shipping containers or “pods” — incorporate the following attributes:

  • The plant oil extraction process equipment enclosed by these booths use solvents such as liquid butane or liquid propane.
  • These booths are provided with factory-provided electrical equipment and factory-provided interconnections for electrical equipment that are suitable for the area classification.
  • This factory-provided equipment may include control panels, power distribution, illumination, ventilation, vapor detection/alarming equipment, and fire extinguishing equipment, as applicable.
  • Suitable ingress/egress is provided for authorized personnel to operate, service, and maintain the intended plant oil extraction process equipment used within the booths

Regarding the plant oil extraction process equipment intended to operate within these booths, this process equipment results in the release of some flammable vapors into the surrounding atmosphere as a normal part of the process. Due to the normal release of flammable vapors:

The area within these booths is classified as a Class I, Division 1 hazardous location in accordance with the NEC.

The area outside these booths around openings is classified as a Class I, Division 2 hazardous location for a distance of three feet in all directions in accordance with the NEC.

Product categories are being released for the UL certification of additional plant oil extraction equipment for use in hazardous (classified) and unclassified locations. These product categories cover Plant Oil Extractors for Use in Hazardous Locations (QMCY), preparatory and post-processing equipment, along with systems that involve combinations of many types of plant oil extraction.

Plant oil extraction equipment is investigated for compliance with UL 1389, Outline of Investigation for Plant Oil Extraction Equipment.

The UL guide information and certifications for QMCV or QMCY can be located on UL Product Spec at www.ul.com/productspec and enter QMCV or QMCY at the category code search.

Note: in addition to UL’s certification programs for these types of equipment, UL may also be able to provide field evaluation services for unlisted products already installed in the field. For more information on UL’s field evaluation services contact UL’s Customer Service at 877-854-3577 #2, or visit www.ul.com/field.

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