Step One- Information Gathering

The Journey to Energy Excellence begins with a customer's desire to improve their current processes in regards to energy.  As we mentioned in our first article, this program by integrating systems and processes, brings all the key stakeholders involved in a greenhouse operation together to work towards a common goal and obtain significant savings and improvements to the bottom line. Today we will discuss the first step in the Journey to Energy Excellence for Greenhouses.

Step one is Information Gathering. This really is a critical step that if overstepped or only addressed in passing, will hinder long term sustainable savings and all ability for a grower to identify what their current status is in regards to energy usage and consumption. In this stage, a grower will capture all the information they have so they can do a proper assessment of their current status.  The information gathered should enable the grower to determine a baseline.  In capturing the information for the baseline, questions will arise.   Just a few of those questions might be along the lines of:

  • Who in the organization is responsible for energy?
  • What types of energy are you utilizing?
  • How are you using energy?
  • When are you using the various energy inputs?
  • Where are you using each input and what time frames are associated with that usage?
  • How much CO2 do you use and when?
  • What is your production output?
  • What suppliers do you use that impact your energy  consumption?
  • What improvement have you made in the past?

Not only do you want to capture this information, you want to be able to support it with documentation. Documentation could be in the form of bills, production data, supplier manuals, feedback reports etc. all of which come together to provide a big picture, overarching view of the greenhouse operations from an energy perspective. Information gathering centralizes the information for the organization and sets the stage for Step 2: Assessment.