Time to Upgrade?
by Michael Kovalycsik, National Sales & Marketing Director, Delta T Solutions
Unhappy plants, discontented workers and high production costs are all signs that it might be time for some changes to your greenhouses, says A.J. Both, associate extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University. “Any or all of these conditions can be a good reason to investigate and implement upgrades,” he says.
Energy is one of the costliest aspects of running a growing operation, second only to labor expenses. According to a fact sheet produced by Both and Michigan State University’s Erik Runkle, approximately 65 to 85 percent of the energy consumed in greenhouse production goes toward heating, while electricity and transportation make up the remainder.
In older greenhouses, it’s common for air leaks to reduce efficiency, leading to higher energy costs. Both and Runkle recommend inspecting your current house’s glazing, walls, doors, fans and vents for leaks. Pay close attention to the areas around vents and fans, and spots where the covering attaches to the foundation and walls. They offer this checklist to help improve efficiency if you’re not quite ready for a complete retrofit:
HEAT LOSS = MONEY LOSS
Wasted energy from outdated heating systems can cost growers a bundle, too. Both and Runkle outline a number of reasons heating systems can become inefficient over time:
While Both typically recommends building new structures with updated equipment if at all possible to ensure maximum efficiency, it might not be economically feasible for some growers. In those instances, he suggests considering the following upgrades for existing greenhouses:
COMING IN OUR NEXT EDITION
Part 2 of our series on upgrades looks at how to get your return on investment with a high-efficiency heating system, plus some creative financing options. Read part 2 here. Read part 3 of the series here.
Delta T Solutions has designed and manufactured customized heating solutions for greenhouse growers using on hydronic (hot water radiant) heat for more than 20 years. To learn more about cost-effective in-ground, bench, and perimeter heating systems; high-efficiency boiler systems; and other systems that improve crop health, contact Delta T at 800.552.5058 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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