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"Bylaws governing energy efficiency and light abatement will become the standard"

The implementation of energy curtains and screens in the horticultural industry of North America, particularly in Canada, has been on the rise due to various factors. Matt Bonavita, General Manager and President of Ludvig Svensson Inc, the North-American branch of the company, believes that these practices will soon become the industry standard. Ludvig Svensson Inc has witnessed a growing demand for these solutions across North America, with an increasing number of growers opting for two or even three screens. Matt emphasizes the importance of screens as a valuable tool for climate control and expresses the company's commitment to assisting growers in maximizing their benefits.

Energy curtains
According to Matt, the application of screens and energy curtains in greenhouses has gained significant importance in North America, driven primarily by the energy crisis. Although the situation may not be as severe as in Europe, it is becoming increasingly critical in Canada.

One notable factor driving the adoption of screens in greenhouses is the implementation of bylaws in several Canadian municipalities, including Leamington and Kingsville. These bylaws mandate minimum gaps or complete closure of light abatement curtains on greenhouse ceilings, sidewalls, and endwalls during specific hours of the night. Recently, Leamington's bylaw officers charged 12 greenhouse owners for allegedly violating the town's light abatement rules. Initially, some growers may have considered the fines to be more affordable than adding an additional screen, but they quickly realized that the fines accumulated rapidly. This realization prompted them to choose a combination of light abatement curtains and energy screens, making the use of two screens the standard practice, as stated by Matt. "Over time, bylaws governing energy efficiency and light abatement will become the standard. While some regions will be more impacted initially, the industry as a whole is expected to embrace these regulations as the norm", he says. Answering this new standard, ENERGYPerfect was recently launched, a double-screen solution for more energy savings at night by combining the new all-aluminum Obscura climate screen with a Luxous energy screen. This allows growers to save even more energy.

Another noteworthy development in North America is the availability of subsidies for energy reduction, which has become a major trend. This strategy, while interesting, can be complex to navigate. Consequently, Ludvig Svensson has dedicated considerable effort to create their Rebate Guide, aimed at guiding growers through the various rebates and incentive programs available.

North-American expansion
Over the past few years, the horticultural industry has experienced aggressive expansion, leading to a rapid increase in greenhouse acreage across North America. This growth has been primarily driven by the demand for strawberries. Matt highlights strawberries as the crop with the most significant expansion. Additionally, many tomato growers have chosen to retrofit their greenhouses, switching to peppers or exploring alternative crops like strawberries due to concerns regarding diseases and viruses. Retrofitting has also been a common practice among former cannabis growers, where blackout screens were replaced with energy curtains.

Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, Matt sees that new greenhouse builds have primarily been postponed to 2024 and later. While Ludvig Svensson remains actively engaged in quoting, there has been a significant slowdown in implementation. Only a few potential projects are expected to materialize by the end of this year. The economic challenges posed by high-interest rates, escalating commodity costs, and the overall price per hectare for construction have made it difficult for growers to obtain additional funding from banks. Additionally, permitting issues and water-related challenges in Leamington have further contributed to delays in new greenhouse permits. However, existing permits are progressing, albeit with some delays in the issuance of new permits.

The ClimaFlow solution

Efficiency is a key aspect of the horticultural industry, whether in terms of investments or energy usage, according to Matt. To aid growers in achieving this efficiency, Ludvig Svensson has acquired Hinova, enabling the company to offer the ClimaFlow system. This system efficiently brings fresh air from above the screen to the plants on the ground. Matt expresses his enthusiasm for the positive reception of the ClimaFlow system, extending from the North-East of the US to Canada. He acknowledges that each region's climate varies significantly, and Svensson has invested substantial effort in proving the system's effectiveness in different climates. Education is a core value for Ludvig Svensson, demonstrated through initiatives like Svensson's advisory service, Climate House. Whether it's Climaflow, Obscura, light abatement laws, rebates, and incentives, or the benefits of greenhouse glass and the partnership with AGCulture, Ludvig Svensson aims to provide growers with accurate information backed by calculations. By understanding these details, the role of curtains in energy savings and a company's return on investment becomes evident. The screen industry has become a crucial element in the greenhouse business, and Ludvig Svensson's commitment to education aligns with their ultimate goal of maximizing greenhouse potential and reaching desired outcomes.

Click here for the Ludvig Svensson rebate guide.

For more information:
Ludvig Svensson

[email protected]