Indoor cropping energy efficiency innovations
Indoor cropping in New Zealand consumes a large amount of energy every year, and the opportunities for energy savings can often be achieved through existing technologies or novel energy efficient advances.
EECA has recently invested in demonstration projects for three such technologies for three different cropping businesses. This has meant significant cost and energy savings for these companies - a benefit to both their bottom line, as well as reducing energy-related carbon emissions.
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JS EWERS THERMAL SCREENS
JS Ewers has been growing crops in Nelson since 1972, and today has 12 hectares of glasshouse and 200 hectares of outdoor crops.
EECA has partnered with JS Ewers to improve and refine their energy efficiency. Co-funded by EECA’s technology demonstration fund, JS Ewers has invested in the fit-out of thermal screens in a number of existing greenhouses to heat the large spaces more efficiently in colder months and also keep them cooler during summer.
This solution improves the insulation of the greenhouses by trapping a layer of air between the glass and the thermal screen while also minimising the amount of warm air that escapes. This innovation greatly reduces overall energy consumption and is also more environmentally friendly than alternative solutions.
This technology, whilst used extensively for new greenhouses, is challenging to retrofit. Successful deployment at J.S Ewers means the need to use fossil fuels to resupply heat into greenhouses is reduced, saving over 1500 tonnes of carbon from being emitted annually.
Speaking about the project, JS Ewers GM, Pierre Gargiulo says, “We are pleased to partner with EECA to enhance our energy efficiency, and roll-out a solution that is in line with our commitment to natural and sustainable growing practices."
EECA estimates that there are over 200 hectares of commercial glasshouse operations across New Zealand that could benefit from the retrofitting of thermal screens.
SHOOTS MICROGREENS LED GROW LIGHTS
Shoots Microgreens has become the first vertical farm in the heart of Wellington’s CBD, opening in 2018 after gaining co-funding from EECA to install LED grow lights.