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Energy saving technologies for protected horticulture - commercial demonstration and technology transfer - HH3805


Following publication of the Curry report, DEFRA have made a commitment to establish a number of pilot projects supporting a network of demonstration and development farms. These ‘farms’ are intended to support the process of technology transfer by giving free access to information on the practical application of new, emerging and best practice technologies. Protected Horticulture has been identified as a sub-sector requiring the establishment of one of these projects. One of the major pressures currently affecting the protected horticultural sector is that of achieving improvements in energy efficiency. Legislative and economic constraints are forcing growers to reduce energy inputs whilst maintaining levels of production and, as a result, businesses in this sector require reliable and impartial information about energy saving technologies and strategies. The objective of this project is:

• To accelerate the uptake of a number of key energy efficient techniques and practices by giving horticultural businesses free access to impartial information on their performance

This will be achieved by identifying early adopters in this industry sector who are already using these technologies. Their practical experience, crop production indicators and energy use will be publicised regularly throughout the duration of the project. Communication routes will include national specialist horticultural press and web sites. The Horticultural Development Council will be a key partner in this process. The availability of such information will enable businesses to implement the measures safe in the knowledge that the techniques will deliver both energy savings and improved profitability.

This project supports a number of aims stated within Defra’s Science & Innovation Strategy (2003-06), in particular:
• Conservation and use of natural resources – responding to the challenges of the Energy White Paper to deliver energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions
• Thriving rural economies and communities – responding to the Rural White Paper in helping to ensure a thriving rural economy
• Sustainable farming & food – to promote food chain sustainability


1. Collect energy and crop performance data from a range of commercial nurseries that have adopted recently developed / commercialised energy saving measures, techniques and strategies.
2. Provide practical information on the installation and operation of the measures on a commercial horticultural business in the UK.
3. Make the information derived from objectives 1 and 2 freely available to a wide cross section of the UK protected horticultural sector. This information to be presented in regular updates throughout a complete calendar year.
4. Present cost/benefit information for the measures studied such that growers can make investment decisions for application to their own business.

Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2005

Cost: £33,047
Contractor / Funded Organisations
FEC Services Ltd
Climate Change              
Protected Cropping              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Technology Transfer              
Fields of Study