New Software Maps Out Greenhouse Energy Savings in Advance
After five years of research and development, Agrithermic, a French engineering company, is marketing a new software designed to facilitate the construction of energy-efficient greenhouses.
Technical solutions currently exist on the market to help reduce energy costs. For many growers, the dilemma is how to choose an optimal configuration adapted to their climate, crops, and yields, and to determine the investment payback.
Hortinergy is a decision-making tool that enables growers to compare and size different equipment to reduce energy costs, potentially by as much as 70% for new projects. It is designed to simulate energy consumption of an existing or planned greenhouse.
Users go to a library that includes the major equipment available on the market, such as glass, plastic films, climate screens, etc. Hortinergy then helps calculate the required dimensions of the equipment, while the grower compares economical and technical scenarios with a simple online interface. A detailed report is sent for each scenario. Outputs include heating consumptions, dehumidification needs, and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) reaching the canopy, etc. for hourly, monthly, or annual periods.
Innovative algorithms take into account greenhouse-specific parameters, such as light transmission through transparent cover, external and inner climate regulation (screens), canopy evapotranspiration, crop types, etc.
Hortinergy was evaluated for reliability in both classic and semi-closed greenhouses. A comparison in The Netherlands-based Wageningen University & Research greenhouses showed an accuracy with less than 10% margin of error.
What are the next steps for Agrithermic? The company says it plans to partner with other companies in the horticulture industry, as well as research centers, on multiple add-ons in the future that will help make the software system complete.