Michigan floriculture industry energy efficiency tour

Tour highlights ways to reduce energy consumption and expenses.

Energy costs are among the greatest expenses for greenhouse businesses. According to a USDA NASS report of 2015, heating costs are an average of $36,500 per business. In greenhouses with over 100,000 square feet of production space, the mean heating cost was $177,000. In addition, 72 percent of Michigan greenhouses with over 100,000 square feet of production space use high-intensity supplemental lighting.

For large greenhouse businesses in particular, energy is a significant financial driver to making decisions. There are numerous energy-saving technologies and practices to implement in order to reduce those costs.

Since 2010, 35 Michigan greenhouses have completed an energy audit with a certified agricultural energy auditor. Seven years of data has shown that greenhouses who implement recommended energy efficiency measures experience, on average, a 34 percent reduction in energy consumption. This is a substantial cost savings that will increase the bottom line of greenhouse businesses.

Growers interested in learning about energy saving technology should join the Michigan Floriculture Energy Efficiency tour to be held on September 19 at two Ottawa County floriculture businesses.

Arborview Greenhouse and Walter’s Gardens completed energy audits, implemented the recommended energy efficiency measures, and experienced a reduction in energy expenses. Some of the energy efficiency measure implemented include: IR poly, heat curtains, low intensity LED lights, LED toplighting, in-floor heat, and an innovative environmental control system.

These two greenhouses have seen firsthand the impact these practices have had on crop production and profitability. In fact, as part of the tour program, Troy Shumaker, COO of Walter’s Garden, will talk about their return on investment from energy efficiency projects that were involved in. Information on obtaining rebates, grants, and low interest loans to pay for energy efficiency measures will be shared with tour participants.

The tour will begin at Arborview Greenhouse in Hudsonville at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 19. The complete tour agenda and registration information can be found online. Due to the generous support of the Michigan Energy Office there is no cost to attend but registration is requested. Lunch will be provided. Questions about the tour can be directed to Charles Gould at 616-994-4547 or Heidi Lindberg at 616-994-4701. 

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