CONSERVING ENERGY IN GREENHOUSES

As the era of cheap fuel passes into history, a new era of energy conser­vation has begun. Greenhouse growers have felt the impact of increased fuel costs directly in their cost of production. Since most greenhouse crops are discretionary rather than essential consumer purchases, the cost of production cannot be allowed to parallel the cost of fuel or sales may decline.

The greenhouse industry has responded in several ways to the need for energy conservation to curb rising production costs. Current trends in crop production show an orientation of crop types to geographic regions. Crops needing high temperatures for optimum production are being grown less commonly in the northern states and in greater num­bers in the South. Cool-temperature crops such as carnations are replac­ing warm-temperature crops such as roses in northern greenhouses. It must be noted, however, that the technology for energy conservation in greenhouses is still in its infancy. No doubt some of the techniques to be described will prove their merit and gain acceptance. Others will prob­ably prove impractical and be replaced.