Assessing the performance of a novel climate optimization software in commercial Ontario floral and cucumber greenhouses

Golden Acre Farms
(Photo credit: Niagara College Canada)
The business needed to validate the use of the 360 Energy Inc. novel climate optimization software in commercial greenhouses in Southern Ontario

A collaborative research project between HESIC and 360 Energy Inc. involved two participating commercial greenhouses that systematically evaluated proprietary software

This software technology has the potential to equip growers and managers with a novel tool to mitigate increasing energy costs

The novel climate optimization software developed by 360 Energy Inc. utilizes the data generated from the climate control system that is currently installed within the greenhouse. All climate conditions within the greenhouse can potentially be collected and analyzed by this software in order to produce recommendations generating energy and carbon-emission savings to the grower. Information specific to greenhouse location, such as energy market pricing, forecast weather, and solar irradiation, are integrated into the final savings recommendations. To develop this precision software, multiple locations with different climate sensing equipment brands over time must be measured and studied, and feedback on its effectiveness provided, before finalizing the software program.

A collaborative project was undertaken between Niagara College’s (NC) HESIC team and 360 Energy Inc., involving two participating commercial greenhouses to evaluate 360 Energy’s proprietary software and provide development support. This was accomplished through baseline analysis that facilitated calibration of the greenhouses’ current climate sensing equipment and control system where necessary, as well as monitoring of external climate sensor equipment, evaluation of strategy reports, and through collection of feedback from the grower. The final version of the climate software demonstrated to the NC team is an easy-to-navigate tool useful to a range of greenhouse operators from growers to owners. This software has the potential to equip growers and managers with a novel tool as they strive to mitigate increasing energy costs.

Through this research trial, the team identified that a final version of software could potentially help growers in managing energy costs and mitigating cost increases.

This project was made possible by funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, through the Niagara College-led Greenhouse Technology Network.

Visit Niagara College’s Horticultural & Environmental Sciences Innovation Centre (HESIC) website to learn more about its resources and capabilities.

(Project #NC116)