Ten years ago, and just like today, energy saving was vitally important for successful greenhouse businesses. However, in addition to the problem of volatile and increasing energy costs, growers were starting to face new challenges, such as energy saving legislation and consumers who want produce grown with a low environmental impact.
In the early and mid-2000s, AHDB Horticulture (called HDC at the time) invested heavily in energy saving research and development (R&D). Technologies like temperature integration and thermal screens were new concepts and the primary aim of the R&D was to show growers that top quality commercial crops could be produced with the new techniques.
The R&D was extremely successful, energy was saved, the economics were good and top-quality crops were grown. But there was a major problem! Growers struggled to apply the technologies on their own nurseries because the new techniques often took them outside their comfort zone.
This is where the idea of GrowSave was born. At the time, some funding was available from the Carbon Trust to set up industry specific energy saving knowledge sharing groups, so FEC Energy and AHDB Horticulture joined forces to make a case for UK greenhouse horticulture. As we say, the rest is now history; the application was successful and our first programme of nursery visits, training and energy saving guides were born.
Back in 2007, we asked growers this simple question: “Have you ever wished that you could learn practical energy saving techniques by looking over the shoulder of an expert?” We got a resounding yes, and I believe that GrowSave rose to the challenge by delivering practical energy saving advice for the last 10 years.