The California Statewide Agriculture Market Characterization Study completed in 2013 examined the opportunities for energy efficiency across all agriculture sub-segments. The study identified the Greenhouses and Nurseries segments as a good candidate for improved energy savings. The study found that:
- Relative to other segments, greenhouses and nurseries did not prioritize energy metrics or monitoring, presenting opportunities for increased deployment of energy management systems and greater uptake of related utility incentives;
- Growers within the segment communicate most frequently through grassroots networks that often share information about new technologies;
- While a few leaders within the greenhouse community have educated themselves and taken up a host of basic to advanced energy measures, there is a need for more technology demonstrations and other collaborative programs that could help the rest of the industry move forward.
To better serve and understand this market the California Sustainability Alliance held a forum for the greenhouse, floriculture and horticulture customers in Santa Barbara, CA. Growers offered input regarding both their efforts to reduce energy and water use and describe the assistance that would enhance their current sustainability efforts. The Alliance recently released a summary the forum in a new report entitled Sustainability Forum for Greenhouse, Floriculture and Horticulture Customers.
The report documents key recommendations from participants regarding potential improvements to utility programs. These recommendations include:
- Streamline the paper work and reduce the processing time needed to qualify for and receive utility rebates and incentives
- Provide more technical and design information, including pre-engineering support, and increase financial support for advanced energy and water efficiency technologies
- Provide more support to qualify cogeneration and alternative energy projects
- Increase utility support of agriculture customers by increasing account executive support and offering regular grower forums
- Team up pump and irrigation specialists with utility account executives to conduct more audits and field operation reviews
- Provide help to perform financial analysis for energy efficiency projects
Download the full report for more details.