Increasing Energy Efficiency In The Greenhouse
The fall season is upon us, bringing with it thoughts of brutal winter cold and high energy bills. Have you considered the energy usage of your business? Have you contemplated implementing money-saving technology that also benefits the environment and reduces your carbon footprint? Here are four common energy-efficient technologies.
Installing high-efficiency heaters can save growers up to 45 percent on energy costs, depending on the age and efficiency of the heaters being replaced. As technology has advanced, 93 or 95 percent efficient heaters are now available. Growers should be sure to maintain heaters in the greenhouse to make sure they are working efficiently and also not emitting any organic compounds, such as ethylene, which can induce flower drop or bleaching of the upper foliage of plants.
Polyethylene film treated to block infrared radiation (IR) can increase energy savings. This plastic film, often used to cover the greenhouse, can block infrared radiation and reduce ventilation in the summer and help reduce heat loss at night in the winter. Installing polyethylene IR film often has an extremely short payback period of only a few months.
Installing energy curtains can save you up to 30 percent in energy costs. They are often used during the winter in temperate climates to retain the heat closer to the crop and reduce heat radiation. The curtains can also be used in the summer months to provide shading to crops on excessively hot days in the greenhouse.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs To Replace Incandescent Lamps
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) use approximately a quarter of the energy of incandescent lamps. Growers should replace the incandescent lamps in work areas or other areas of the greenhouse where they are not being used for photoperiodic lighting. In areas where they are being used for photoperiodic lighting, MSU Extension recommends installing CFLs for every other incandescent lamp, since flowering of some photoperiodic crops can be delayed under only CFLs. Growers could also consider installing one of the light-emitting diode (LED) flowering lamps that have become commercially available within the last two years.
Read the full MSU article on increasing energy efficiency in the greenhouse.
Source: Michigan State University Extension