Think outside the box on energy
By Brandi Cowen
Brooklyn, a former agriculture powerhouse in the 19th century, is once again re-inventing itself through agriculture. With the latest announcement of new hydroponic greenhouses being built on the rooftops of former Navy warehouses, 100,000 square feet of previously unused space is now going to supply enough fruits and veggies to feed up to 5,000 New Yorkers.
Hydroponic greenhouses are ideal for rooftops as they are lighter than soil-based operations and use far less water while diverting storm water from the sewer system. By keeping the produce local and supplying local supermarkets, energy use is way down as well, since shipping products around the country is not required.
Here in Canada we need to take the same attitude towards energy. What has worked in the past and what we are currently doing, is perhaps not the only way for us to be operating. Every year, in the same manner we evaluate other suppliers and systems, we too, need to review our energy policy, procedures and plans for the coming year. Without reviewing our current status and seeing where improvements could be made through the assistance of experts in the field, how can we expect to improve upon what we are doing?
Being proactive in managing your energy costs not only helps control one of the largest expenses in the greenhouse industry, but may also improve your productivity. If we look at the hydroponic greenhouses in the US, they are being able to use valuable space, have access to direct sunlight, reduce their water usage and distribution costs while increasing yields, all by thinking outside the box. It’s essential that organizations here in Canada continue to think outside the box, require their suppliers to demonstrate their innovative solutions to reducing costs for their customers, all in an effort to stay competitive and be more efficient.