Greenhouse Energy

In an industry with declining profit margins, and with volatile fuel prices, there is increasing need to grow greenhouse crops in an energy-efficient manner.  The best approach is to attack this industry threat using a variety of strategies.  In collaboration with horticulturists, agricultural economists, and agricultural engineers, we have developed this web site to provide summary information on production strategies and technologies that greenhouse growers can use to consume less energy and improve production efficiency.  Please click on the links above for more information on each topic.  Additional resources are below.

Greenhouse Energy Conservation Strategies

This 16-page summary, in pdf format, presents 13 production strategies and technologies that greenhouse growers can use to reduce energy consumption and improve greenhouse production efficiency. Topics include:

  • Energy-efficient lighting
  • Managing greenhouse temperature
  • Reducing air leaks
  • Retractable curtains
  • Maintaining heating equipment
  • Horizontal air flow fans
  • Efficient ventilation systems

Although many of these concepts can apply to virtually any greenhouse-grown crop, the focus is on the production of floriculture crops in controlled greenhouse environments located in temperate climates. Written by Erik Runkle (Michigan State Univ.) and A.J. Both (Rutgers Univ.).


We thank the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Council, who received a grant from the USDA Rural Development Office to help subsidize the costs of developing this energy resource.  In addition, Project GREEEN has provided funding to researchers at Michigan State University to generate research-based information on how to optimize temperature and light to increase greenhouse cropping efficiency and thus reduce energy consumption.

The information on this website was compiled and organized by Matthew Blanchard (former post-doctoral research associate) and Erik Runkle (professor), Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University.  If you would like to suggest a research-based article for this website, please E-mail Erik.


Permissions: We have made every effort to seek permission to use all material that appears on this web site.  If we have inadvertently used anyone’s material without permission, we will be happy to make the necessary arrangements at the first opportunity; please contact MSU Printing Services Course Materials Program (Lynne Woods).  We especially thank Greenhouse Management magazine and Greenhouse Grower magazine for allowing us to post reprints of their articles on this website. 


  • DTE Energy Grow Better and Save More

    Published on February 24, 2021
    For growers of cannabis, food, hemp and decorative plants, crop yield and quality come first. New energy efficient lighting options can take those goals further by helping you save on energy costs.

  • Consumers Energy Early Bird Bonus - Q1 2021

    Published on February 24, 2021
    Consumers Energy Business Energy Efficiency Programs are offering incentive bonuses under the Business Energy Efficiency Programs for qualifying projects.

  • DTE Energy Grow Energy Efficient Pilot Program Application and Agreement

    Published on February 24, 2021
    The DTE Energy Grow Energy Efficiently Pilot Program offers financial incentives to help enable projects that reduce energy consumption and increase cost savings for controlled environment agriculture commercial grow customers.

  • Greenhouse energy efficiency tips

    Published on October 12, 2020
    This article provides a short summary of what actions or investments can be made to improve the energy efficiency of greenhouse operations.

  • Greenhouse environment checklist

    Published on October 10, 2019
    Every autumn, ensure greenhouse systems that regulate the major environmental parameters are working well and positioned properly. This article highlights many of the control systems and equipment to check.

  • Dealing with the cold

    Published on January 17, 2015
    It’s naturally tempting to reduce the greenhouse temperature so that less energy is consumed per day, but there are consequences to such actions that growers should understand.

  • The Basics and Beyond: Cold Finishing Poinsettias

    Published on February 9, 2014
    Save on heating costs with Poinsettia Reduced Temperature Finishing.

  • Plant temperature under greenhouse curtains

    Published on October 17, 2012
    Retractable energy curtains save energy costs by serving as an insulative layer and reducing the amount of space heated. In addition, plants under the curtains can be at least a few degrees warmer than plants not under a curtain.

  • Environmental & genetic approaches to lower greenhouse heating costs

    Published on March 22, 2012
    To lower energy costs for greenhouse heating, we have taken two approaches: to optimize greenhouse temperature on a species- and seasonal-basis, and to develop genetic resources to help facilitate the breeding of crops that flower earlier.

  • Scheduling bedding plants for energy-efficient production

    Published on February 22, 2012
    In this article, we discuss the effects of average daily temperature and starting size of plugs on flowering time and crop quality of a variety of annual bedding plants.