Energy taken for granted?
By Brandi Cowen
We are a country rich in natural resources, and the greenhouse industry in Canada has benefited from this. The greenhouse industry is one of the largest energy intensive sectors in Canada, yet abundant access to energy at a relatively low cost for producers has made energy management practices a relatively small priority.
However, there is an increasing movement in society to require producers to demonstrate they are doing everything they can to manage energy and the environmental impacts. At the same time, margins are getting tighter for many growers.
Energy management activity in the greenhouse industry in Canada has been sporadic, disjointed and disorganized, with the result being that energy management practices and procedures are limited. In the Dutch book, “Greenhouse Climate Control: An Integrated Approach,” the shortcomings of a disjointed approach are discussed, and it illustrates that by working together across multiple disciplines (science; engineering; business) the greenhouse industry can achieve energy/environmental savings of 2% annually, year over year for the entire industry.
The Journey to Energy Excellence program developed by 360 Energy would coordinate and assemble all the different energy management pieces together. It would demonstrate to growers that measureable savings can be achieved resulting in increased profitability and reduced environmental impact. The program is positioned to spearhead this initiative and take on the role of engaging growers, suppliers, consultants, governments, associations and utilities coast to coast to achieve measurable energy saving goals that will benefit the greenhouse industry and Canada.
We are a gifted country and most sectors have taken energy for granted. There is a great opportunity in the greenhouse industry to demonstrate leadership by organizing and implementing a national greenhouse program province by province.
Lisa Brodeur is Quality Assurance Supervisor with 360 Energy in Burlington, Ont.