Every cold-climate greenhouse grower experiences it – it’s cold outside, the heat is on, but the relative humidity levels need to come down to prevent disease. The solution? The vents get opened to get rid of that moist air and exchange it for drier air – except the greenhouse loses heat in the process!
Greenhouse growers in Canada are facing increased energy costs and are concerned about fossil fuel emissions, so they’re looking for alternative/green heat sources or ways to decrease their energy consumption.
Energy curtains have been widely adopted by greenhouse growers to decrease energy consumption, but curtains cannot be closed when humidity levels rise, therefore limiting their value. Heat recovery dehumidification technology represents a new approach for removing humidity without the resulting waste of energy associated with venting. Using this technology means a significant break from traditional growing practices, and very few greenhouses have invested in this equipment to trial at their farms. However, heat recovery dehumidification technology companies advertise significant energy savings for greenhouse operations – up to a 60 to 70 per cent decrease in fuel consumption!
Major providers of this technology are based in Israel, and the technology is utilized in European commercial and institutional buildings to manage humidity for human health. Its distribution in North America has really just been for the last decade for similar uses, with very limited adoption globally to manage humidity in the greenhouse sector. New technology providers are based in North America, including Nortek Air Solutions in Saskatchewan. In Canada, there are only a handful of greenhouses using heat recovery dehumidification technology, meaning there is very little objective information available to growers on choosing the right system and adjusting their growing practices.
Growers investigating this option must rely solely on information from sales representatives. Since the technology is so new, Flowers Canada (Ontario) Inc. partnered with vegetable, herb and floriculture greenhouse growers to trial this technology at their farms, so the performance and implications of this technology could be evaluated.
Click here to read the full article at Greenhouse Canada.
Photo credit: Greenhouse Canada