May 22, 2024
Horticultural lighting firm designs fixtures to support creative cultivators, from small local food operations to cannabis growers.


Sudbury, Ontario–based Aelius LED combines the LED technology, commerce education, and entrepreneurial expertise of founders Landon McDowell (president) and Ryan Kirwan (CEO) to deliver quality horticultural lighting. Since its inception in 2018, the 10-person firm has expanded its reach into 10 countries and continues to seek distribution partners around the globe.

Firm mission, in layperson terms: To provide our clients with the right tools to illuminate the true potential of their crops while improving efficiency, increasing crop yield, and decreasing operational costs for cultivators around the globe.

What we are known for: Aelius LED is known for its dedication to customer satisfaction and grower-first mindset that shows through its LED designs and customer service. The Aelius REDD fixture featuring our proven far-red spectrum put the company on the map for its outstanding performance in flowering crops. Furthermore, the Aelius REDD 3.4 1000, our 60W LED tube, and our Matrx 420 fixture have just been recognized in the 2024 LEDs Magazine BrightStar Awards program.

What people don’t know about us: Our firm was one of the first eight companies listed on the DesignLights Consortium Horticultural QPL. In addition, we have also begun working with universities and colleges across Canada to provide the right tools to assist in guiding future cultivators that are dedicated to “Grow with A Purpose.” In the near future, we plan to expand the “Grow With A Purpose” initiative to include those that are in need of new LED technology to get started cultivating for food security and other causes.

Firm culture: Aelius LED has always put focus into its #AeliusFam and that is shown clearly in our company culture. Our team is a tight-knit group of employees, most of whom have been part of the Aelius journey since its establishment.

First commission: Aelius LED’s first commercial cultivation sale was to Bloom House Cannabis Co., an 85,820-square-foot facility located in Lively, Ontario. Bloom House is a trusted cultivator for many quality brands including Handy Dandies, MJ Creams, Maamawi, and more. The grower chose 702 original Aelius 300 fixtures that are still hanging above its plants to this day. Bloom House has since included Aelius LED 20W tubes in its propagation room and has also purchased 144 Aelius REDD fixtures. The grower will also be one of the first to try our newest products that will be released later in 2024.

Ryan’s favorite project: Aelius LED has always been an advocate for food security and indoor cultivation, so Ryan was thrilled to work with Frank’s Organic Garden. One of Aelius LED’s first greenhouse clients in Aurora, Ontario, Frank’s has its own organic farm and greenhouse that serves the members of the community who shop at its farmers market and Frank’s restaurant. Dozens of Aelius REDDs serve in the greenhouse, and we couldn’t be more excited to be involved in the growth of these veggies and creative business model.

Landon’s favorite project: Aelius LED’s video team recently had the pleasure of filming an installation of a new room with our new Aelius REDD fixtures in one of Decibel Cannabis Company’s facilities. The cultivator began its relationship with us by growing with the original Aelius REDDs, which was used in a checkerboard pattern along with high-pressure sodium. The operation has since begun trialing the Aelius REDD 3.0 1000. Decibel’s commitment to robust innovation and product quality is evident in its leading brands, such as General Admission, Qwest, and Vox, which are sold across Canada and are in the process of extending to new countries. It is an honor to hang above their plants.

What are you currently working on? Our current research and design efforts are focused on expanding to include LEDs designed for niche fruit and vegetable cultivation. You can expect to see some intracanopy lighting and tunable fixtures, as well as a new drop in the Matrx product line, by the end of 2024. Aelius LED is also currently working on some innovative new tech — we’re excited to share when it is complete!

Favorite rule of thumb, standard, or equation: As a grower-focused company in today’s LED lighting industry, our design team focuses on how plants respond to light and develops spectrums and housings that create consistent and replicable results without compromising the art of cultivation.

Top industry concern: The main concern is a saturation of emerging enterprises. Hand in hand with this is the rapid advancement of LED technology and under-researched adoption of new technology in the race to be first to market. With so many horticultural LED manufacturers on the market today, it can be overwhelming for consumers to identify who is telling the truth, who is certified, and who is going to stick around to honor their claims.

Industry perception that should be debunked: When upgrading an indoor facility from HPS to LED, you will often find companies advertising 1:1 replacement products. We believe that this needs to be debunked because there is more at play when you are focused on plant health and grower routines. The change from HPS to LED can have a huge impact if you do not adjust your environmental controls for the retrofit; therefore, it can be a disservice to cultivators to highlight a product as a 1:1 replacement.

Lighting aggravation: Aelius LED has always believed in the honest representation of an exceptional product. When we see cultivators being lied to on specification sheets, it gets under our skin. Many companies do not display the actual efficacy of the light fixture they are selling. For example, they may get a fixture with mostly red diodes certified so they can display those fixture specs for their other spectra. Another example would be when a manufacturer lists diode efficacy and not fixture (or system) efficacy. They are not one and the same, and this tactic deceives the customer. Over time, we believe that honest, reputable brands will hold the market share.

What should the horticultural lighting community talk more about? Rebates! There are some exceptional rebates available to those that are interested in retrofitting — in some cases, even for new builds. Aelius LED fixtures qualify for these rebates, and some cultivators may qualify for no up-front costs and up to 100% free LEDs.

What should the industry talk less about? When it comes to new LED technology, the focus should be on light output, not power input. Oftentimes cultivators are under the impression that more power equals more light. This mindset causes cultivators to look past other important specs such as light output and efficacy of the fixture. It can lead to unnecessary energy consumption and reduce quality options available on the market.

Lighting aspect you want to learn more about: Aelius LED is always researching and looking to learn. Our true passion lies in watching how different crops respond to light and discovering innovation in the fine details of crop health and sustainability.

Visit Aelius LED online


CARRIE MEADOWS is editor-in-chief of LEDs Magazine, with 20-plus years’ experience in business-to-business publishing across technology markets including solid-state technology manufacturing, fiberoptic communications, machine vision, lasers and photonics, and LEDs and lighting.

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About the Author

Carrie Meadows | Editor-in-Chief, LEDs Magazine

Carrie Meadows has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing and media industry. She worked with the PennWell Technology Group for more than 17 years, having been part of the editorial staff at Solid State Technology, Microlithography World, Lightwave, Portable Design, CleanRooms, Laser Focus World, and Vision Systems Design before the group was acquired by current parent company Endeavor Business Media.

Meadows has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards, and has volunteered as a judge on several B2B editorial awards committees. She received a BA in English literature from Saint Anselm College, and earned thesis honors in the college's Geisel Library. Without the patience to sit down and write a book of her own, she has gladly undertaken the role of editor for the writings of friends and family.

Meadows enjoys living in the beautiful but sometimes unpredictable four seasons of the New England region, volunteering with an animal shelter, reading (of course), and walking with friends and extended "dog family" in her spare time.