Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Greenhouse Energy: climate neutral horticulture

While in the Netherlands I visited one of the most advanced greenhouse research centers in the world, in Bleiswijk, the Netherlands. It is managed by the university of Wageningen and it comprises of a series of different experimental set- ups for large scale greenhouses. Marcel Raaphorst a research associate was kind enough to take me along with my camera.

A lot of people in the netherlands eat daily virtually their whole diet from produce grown in large greenhouses. After serving all of the supermarkets (and markets) of the netherlands still 80% of the greenhouse produced food is exported to the EU, and the rest of the world. But the success of Greenhouses always had an incredibly high energy cost and took a good portion of natural gas found under the Northsea.

That energy use may become less if greenhouse techniques are adopted, such as I filmed here. The solutions that are shown here for climate neutral techniques of heating and cooling are in a way very technical and I believe that the scope of the research should be expanded. Climate neutrality should not just apply to the energy household of the greenhouse itself . Climate neutrality as a principle should just as much apply to issues of nutrient dependency, pest control, irrigation, composting, and crop management.

I think that there are a lot of questions here which I would like to address over time. But meanwhile I would like to also present it as is: the world's most in depth research into the energy possibilities of greenhouses. It is amazing....

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