Fanshawe College’s greenhouse and others across Ontario are looking into ways to reduce hydro costs for their facilities.
“They’re not the most energy efficient structures, they’re just glass boxes,” Michael Pascoe, Professor of Horticulture Studies said.
According to Pascoe, greenhouses require lighting, airflow, hydration and heating in order to support different plant species.
“Lights consume electricity, fans cause you got to keep the air moving,” Pascoe said. “All of these modern greenhouses are powered by fairly big computers so there is electricity consumption there as well.
He says 8,000 watts of lights are currently used to help plants but approximately 12,000 watts are needed for the structure.
Many greenhouses across the province are looking into different methods to reduce their energy bill.
Pascoe says other greenhouses are looking to move to higher altitude areas to increase the amount of light entering the structures as well as using biofuels and burning wood pallets to help heat the water.
While working to sustain the plants, Pascoe says that the school relies on water from the city, which prevents them from having full control over the PH levels.
Pascoe says it is important for Fanshawe’s greenhouse to invest in new technology.
“We have an almost 15-year-old computer system driving our greenhouse and some of our technology is 15 years old,” Pascoe said.
He says that companies such as Germany that are updating their equipment and programs almost every five years.
The school is looking into various techniques to lower the amount of hydro required to operate effectively.