Dealing with the High Cost of Energy for Greenhouse Operations

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Increased fuel costs and colder than normal winters make heating costs a significant burden on many greenhouse operations. So, how can growers deal with high energy costs in the greenhouse? The problem can be addressed in several different ways. Growers can conserve energy in the greenhouse, evaluate alternative or additional fuel sources or heating systems, evaluate growing temperatures and other production practices, consolidate operations into less space, critically evaluate when to bring the next greenhouse into production, and streamline operations.

Regardless of what a grower does to reduce his energy use, he still has to examine how to pay for increased costs related to higher fuel prices. Growers have suffered increases in the prices of pots and plastic as well as peat, pesticides and fertilizers over the last few of years. In addition to the increased direct costs of heating, growers will be faced with higher transportation costs as well - not just for the products they are delivering - but also for those they receive. So, in addition to reducing costs in the greenhouse, how can growers adjust their production and pricing to remain profitable?

Joyce G. Latimer
Virginia Cooperative Extension