The Denver-based ‘Den Corner restaurant group’ has built a 3,000 ft2 energy-efficient greenhouse on its farm in nearby Brighton, Colorado. The greenhouse utilizes only passive solar energy to supply light and heat and will delivering fresh crops to the company’s restaurants throughout the year.

An ‘Urban Agriculture Summit’ is about to be held this week in Toronto – an event largely focussed on rooftop farming inside and outside of greenhouses. The company leading the rooftop greenhouse charge in Canada is Lufa Farms.

Union Gas will host a 'Greenhouse Growers Tradeshow and Open House' on September 19th in Leamington, ON. The event has no fee, and lunch is included. Participants must RSVP by September 12th.

BrightFarms recently announced a deal with the A&P grocery chain to provide it year-round with New York City-grown vegetables from the company's (and the country's) largest hydroponic rooftop greenhouse. This is one of many urban greenhouse developments sprouting up across the US, Canada and beyond.

Here is what's happening in Alberta with regard to greenhouse energy use and efficiencies, from Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza of the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association.

An effective way to create optimal growth conditions and achieve superior energy efficiency in a greenhouse is to better collect and manage data relating to greenhouse conditions. To provide better data management, Japanese company Fujitsu has enhanced its ‘Akisai’ Food and Agriculture Cloud Platform.

Slated for an October release in the Japanese market, the "Greenhouse Horticulture SaaS" program stores different types of sensor data (temperature, humidity and more) from within greenhouses on the cloud and performs ongoing analysis to optimize plant growth and cut energy costs. It also enables equipment such as heating units and ventilation fans to be supervised via remote control.

The associated "Greenhouse Environment Control box" accumulates sensor data and performs equipment control functions.

Field tests utilizing the "Greenhouse Horticulture SaaS" and "Greenhouse Environment Control box" are being carried out in cooperation with the Miyazaki Agricultural Research Institute.

From the company’s website - Product Overview:

Greenhouse Horticulture SaaS

(1) Gathers data from inside greenhouses and utilizes it to analyze growing conditions

The Greenhouse Horticulture SaaS enables measurement data taken from sensors in greenhouses, such as for temperature, humidity level, solar exposure, and CO2 concentration, as well as operational data from controlled equipment, including heaters, ventilation fans, windows, and lighting, to be automatically gathered and stored on a cloud environment at regular intervals. Apart from the ability to monitor the condition of individual greenhouses via the Internet, the service aids in achieving superior cultivation methods by utilizing information stored in the cloud to analyze changes in the greenhouse environment and their effect on crop development.

(2) Achieves real-time control operations for greenhouse systems

In a situation where temperature or equipment anomalies arise within a greenhouse, the Greenhouse Horticulture SaaS will send alert notifications in real time. If communication is suspended due to lightning or power outages, the system is able to arecognize the communication error on the cloud and send an alert.

Furthermore, the service offers the ability to perform remote control via smartphone, tablet or a PC that is connected to the Internet. This enables producers to monitor the condition of greenhouses in real time, even while not on-site, and preserve optimal growing conditions within the greenhouse environment.

Greenhouse Environment Control box: an information infrastructure based on a comprehensive, cloud-based environmental control system

The Greenhouse Environment Control box centrally manages information gathered from various measurement sensors installed in greenhouse horticultural facilities, such as for temperature, humidity, solar exposure, and CO2 concentration. It is also able to control equipment such as heaters, ventilation fans, windows, and lighting, to maintain optimal growing conditions. The Greenhouse Environment Control box can even utilize third-party applications, conforming to the V1.0-E10 UECS communications standard, to perform measurements and controls for the greenhouse environment.

This is an overview of Fujitsu's "Greenhouse Horticulture SaaS" and Greenhouse Environment Control box
A greenhouse in Chatham, Ontario to be operated by Cedarline will use heat and CO2 from the GreenField Ethanol plant located there.

The four steps that have been presented here on Energy Edge in 'The Journey to Energy Excellence for Greenhouses' are the meat of the program, says 360 Energy's Lisa Brodeur. "However, Step 5 is the part that keeps your energy management plan and activities alive and flourishing, ultimately saving you money, year after year."

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has just announced a Request for Proposal (RFP) to produce “a comprehensive background study on greenhouse production for northern/isolated communities, including greenhouse design components, technologies, management, marketing and most importantly cost/benefit analyses.”

Like greenhouses anywhere, greenhouses in Canada’s north use lots of energy-efficient technologies, but reporter Anna Mehler Paperny says the hard part is making northern greenhouses capable of supporting themselves financially.

It is currently possible to re-use water several times to irrigate plants in a greenhouse, but technology that will allow water re-use an infinite number of times is almost here - one of many technologies being showcased at the High Tech Greenhouse 2020 project (part of the Floriade 2012 World Horticultural Expo in the Netherlands).

Aquatop, a new ‘smart’ cover for greenhouses that allows both energy and light management, features cutting-edge heat exchange technology involving a large area of water. The tech was just presented at High-Tech Greenhouse 2020 (part of Floriade 2012 World Horticultural Expo in the Netherlands).

“LED light has so much potential. It is paramount to continue the research of LEDs” – this is the opinion of Tom Dueck, an agricultural researcher at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands.

How much can the use of LED lights increase greenhouse yields and decrease producers’ energy costs? Several US universities are involved in research on high-wire tomatoes and ornamental plants that will produce answers to this question by end of 2012.

Step 4 in 'The Journey to Energy Excellence for Greenhouses' from 360 Energy is 'Plan Implementation.' "Now that an organization has made the decision to go on the 'Journey' and has written a sustainable energy plan/program, the fourth step is to begin implementing that plan," says Quality Assurance Supervisor Lisa Brodeur.

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