New Michigan greenhouse energy resource website
March 16, 2007 - Author: Matthew Blanchard and Erik Runkle, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Horticulture
Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.
The cold weather is mostly behind us now, but energy prices are likely not to subside. In an industry with declining profit margins and with the surge in fuel prices, there is increasing need to grow greenhouse crops in an energy-efficient manner throughout much of the year. The best approach is to attack this industry threat using a variety of strategies.
In collaboration with horticulturists, agricultural economists and agricultural engineers at Michigan State University, Rutgers University, University of Georgia and University of Florida, we have drafted and compiled information on production strategies and technologies that greenhouse growers can use to consume less energy and improve production efficiency. This resource document was first made available to participants of greenhouse energy meetings coordinated by the MSU Floriculture Area of Expertise Team held throughout Michigan in January and February 2007 and is now available online at: http://www.hrt.msu.edu/energy/Notebook.htm
This online resource includes articles, many of which have appeared in popular trade magazines, on the following topics:
- Greenhouse lighting
- Temperature and scheduling
- Energy-saving technologies
- Alternative fuels
- Energy grants and loans
Development of some of these articles and the energy website were made possible by funding from the Michigan Floriculture Growers Council. The Council received a grant from the USDA Rural Development Office in early 2006 to help subsidize the costs of performing this feasibility study to identify greenhouse energy conservation strategies. In addition, Project GREEEN has provided funding to generate research-based information to improve our knowledge of how to optimize temperature and light to increase greenhouse cropping efficiency and thus reduce energy consumption.
As we and our colleagues develop additional research-based information, we will update the website to provide the most recent information to help floriculture companies decide how to best constrain energy costs and maintain profitability.