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Jim Rearden, BioTherm Solutions:

“For some crops our cooling systems have become a must, rather than an option”

“There is now a new demand for using mechanical systems to cool and dehumidify,” says Jim Rearden, CEO of BioTherm. BioTherm offers air conditioning systems that safely cool and dehumidify the greenhouse, to reduce any disease or mold spores. Rearden explains the advantage of mechanical cooling systems, why their products are in increasing demand, and the future of greenhouse cooling.

Jim Rearden

“New demand for mechanical systems”
Rearden explains that until recently most greenhouse growers would use conventional cooling means like evaporative pads, fog systems, and venting to cool their crops. “Yet those solutions don’t necessarily address the issue that crops should not have any disease or mold spores, as that decreases the value of the product. And especially for growers who have production facilities in environments that are too aggressive to use outside air, our mechanical systems have become a must rather than an option, in order to properly and safely cool and dehumidify.”

More crops being grown
According to Rearden, there has always been a need for additional cooling and dehumidification in greenhouses, especially for specialty crops. “In many cases, weather can fluctuate during the day and throughout seasons, which has a direct impact on the temperature inside a greenhouse. This presents challenges to growers who need to maintain a specific growing environment for their plants. It can also cause issues with increased humidity, which can lead to unwanted pests and pathogens within a greenhouse environment.” BioTherm’s variety of cooling systems provide growers with an effective solution. “We have noticed that there has been an increasing demand which is coming from more crops being grown. Especially the advent of the cannabis industry has been a real driver for our cooling products. Overall, we notice that our cooling systems are especially in demand for orchid and cannabis growers. Most of our customers are using 4-pipe air handler-type systems that can adjust the temperature of the facility as well as the humidity levels.”

Do heatwaves lead to an increasing demand?
Rearden also mentions that it is difficult to tell whether their demand has increased as a result of the recent heatwaves. “We use historical data to address the sizing of our systems so if that data is correct, then it should even account for the ‘normal’ heat waves. There is not really a resource that gives us the opportunity to predict the temperatures in a given environment, so we are left to predict. The whole world is in uncharted territory for these unprecedented weather events. We do know however that the increasing demand for our cooling systems is largely coming from the new crops being grown.”

The future of greenhouse cooling
“As the world turns to controlled environment agriculture (CEA), the demands on greenhouse manufacturers and climate specialists like us, are going to become more important. We have some very strategic and game-changing products that will be on the market in the next six months that are optimized for greenhouse applications rather than solutions designed for commercial office buildings that have been modified. We’re hoping to continue to innovate newer and more robust but affordable systems for meeting the demands growers have worldwide for climate control.”

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