Next Generation Growing: high savings, low investment.
Next Generation Growing or NGG, is a term that has been thrown around a lot over recent years in the horticultural industry.
NGG is a Dutch born initiative set to create energy savings in the greenhouse sector by approximately 2020 and works on a simple basis of growing a better crop, with less energy.
Next gen growing sounds simple; however, the concept is centred around closer control of the greenhouse temperature and humidity.
With its success hugely reliant on consistency (a max variation of 2 degrees centigrade between the warmest and coldest areas of the glasshouse), most growers will realise this is a feat easier said than done, however NGG experts seem to have the answers.
As we said, consistency is king when it comes to next generation growing. Whilst a lot of focus lies on the promotion of air circulation and humidity control, there is also a huge emphasis on the correct usage of your screens.
The majority of dutch growers that are using NGG methods are also installing double screens, in order to regulate light input to their glasshouses. Light-diffusing screens can be fully closed throughout the day, shielding the entire crop from intense sun radiation.
With an extra screen positioned closely above, you can close them to create a cushion of stationary air formed between the two screens, saving energy and producing an insulating effect. The proximity of the two screens also helps minimise light loss.
Breaking away from traditional screening methods, NGG suggests that ceasing to gap your screens will allow for a more controlled environment, instead you should choose to vent from both sides over a completely closed screen – which in turn will reduce the radiative cooling effect by shielding the plant from clear skies at night.
You may be wondering how you would manage to create the same airflow without the gap: NGG implements open cloth screens, that work much more efficiently to keep the heat in the glasshouse whilst promoting a regulation of airflow.
Additionally, you can maximise photosynthesis through a reduction of venting, instead misting rather than shading in warm conditions to improve CO2 uptake.
NGG methods are already delivering savings of approximately 25 percent whilst avoiding any significant investment, with a lot of growers stating they have significantly less need for additional heating due to keeping their screens closed longer.
For those who have requirements for screen replacements, it’s worthwhile considering the practicality of installing a secondary screen.
Double screening will increase energy savings and allow a more uniformed and closely controlled air exchange, leaving the grower with the ability to gap one or the other subject to the condition they require.
With an extensive knowledge of the screen cloths available Bridge Greenhouses can advise on the most suitable cloth to meet your requirements.
Head to our projects page to see which cloths have been used for different crops and to give yourself an idea of what other growers in your field are using.