Houweling’s Hot House, a British Columbia-based greenhouse tomato and cucumber grower, has put into place what it calls the world’s first carbon-neutral commercial greenhouse for fresh produce.
At Houweling’s Oxnard, Calif., greenhouse, where 40 acres of greenhouse capacity was recently added, a 1.2 megawatt solar array runs the facility, also generating heat to let the greenhouse operate with greater efficiently during cooler weather, reports The Packer.
Additionally, the greenhouse employs a water recirculation system, whereby rainwater, as well as runoff from plants inside, is purified and reused within the facility, which totals 120 acres of greenhouses.
Kirk Homenick, director of sales and marketing, said that because the structure is taller than a standard greenhouse, it will let in 15 percent more natural light. The company expects to see increased yields of fresh produce, with a reduction in fossil fuel. And the fact that the greenhouse is a closed system means that fewer pests can get inside, reducing the need for pesticides.
Solar arrays installed with the recent 40-acre addition are enough to power all 120 acres.
The adjacent coolor facility has a system to capture and store waste heat, which is used to keep the greenhouses warm at night, according to the firm’s sustainability Web page. To see a video about the greenhouse, click here.