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Literature review shares potential efficiency opportunities

Dr. Greenhouse announced the public availability of “Literature Review of Energy and Water Use in Controlled Environment Horticulture and Potential Efficiency Opportunities.”

This literature review, a collaboration among Dr. Greenhouse, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), and 2050 Partners aims to provide an overview of previously published works, specifically the current state of knowledge about the Controlled Environment Horticulture (CEH) industry and its energy and water use. In addition, this literature review identifies potential energy-saving measures for consideration in future California Energy Code cycles as they relate to greenhouses and indoor farms used to grow vegetables, ornamentals, cannabis, and other crops.

“The Dr. Greenhouse team worked to identify and review literature across the CEH industry to present opportunities for higher energy and resource efficiency and improved crop quality and yield,” notes Dr. Nadia Sabeh. “It is rare – but tremendously valuable – to have the opportunity to do this kind of focused survey of existing research and the state of the industry. This study will help to ensure that future energy research investments address remaining knowledge gaps and data needs to support energy code development and technological advances in the CEH market.”

Developed for greenhouses and indoor plant environments without sunlight, the key findings of the literature review include the following:

  1. Best management practices are not well-established, especially for new crops and indoor farms without sunlight.
  2. A lack of energy use data collected from operating CEH facilities limits the development of effective computer models for estimating and predicting current and future energy use.
  3. Energy codes and standards across California and the U.S. are varied and inconsistent.
  4. CEH facilities do not disclose HVAC energy and dehumidification performance metrics, limiting the evaluation of product energy use effectiveness.
  5. Energy-saving opportunities exist for lighting, envelope, HVAC, irrigation, and controls, with new opportunities needing additional investigation.

Dr. Sabeh concludes that the goals of the literature review can be far-reaching, “As an emerging industry with rapidly advancing technologies and operational practices, the entire CEH industry benefits from the sharing of what works best for indoor crop production.”

The Project Sponsor is Andrew Doeschot ([email protected]) of PG&E. The Project Manager is Coleman Stivers of 2050 Partners. The Primary Authors are Nadia Sabeh, Derrick Ross, Lydia Miner, and Sam Everett of Dr. Greenhouse, Inc., with additional contributions from Steffi Becking and Garth Torvestad of 2050 Partners. Please contact Andrew Doeschot ([email protected]) for more information on this project. 

For more information:
Dr. Greenhouse 

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