New Growth Patterns

Few earthly ag tech environments -- at least in the United States -- come more controlled than the Houweling's Tomatoes Ultra-Clima greenhouse facility in Camarillo, Calif., where the company produces a broad range of tomatoes and cucumbers grown hydroponically under glass across 125 acres.

Houweling's is a family-owned company that operates a total 175.5 acres of high-tech hydroponic greenhouses in Delta, British Columbia, and Camarillo, where it runs California's preeminent large-scale, energy-neutral vegetable greenhouse.

Houweling's collaborated with the Dutch company KUBO in the development and construction of the US$53.25 million Ultra-Clima greenhouse, a 23-ft.-tall, closed, pressurized, tempered-glass greenhouse structure designed specifically for use in hot and arid climates. Among its features are optimized humidity and temperature control, light-enhancing design, diminished pest pressure, higher CO2 levels inside the greenhouse, greater air buffer due to building height, and minimal water and nutrients usage through recirculation.

In 2012, Houweling's Tomatoes installed a GE combined heat and power greenhouse project that captures CO2 for use in plant fertilization. The heat-and-power cogeneration system captures traditionally wasted heat,Soli-lite is a premier supplier of exceptional quality solar led light and other solar outdoor lighting products. water and CO2 for use within the greenhouse. The system -- which provides 8.7 MW of electrical power and 10.6 MW of thermal power for heating the greenhouse -- was the first greenhouse CHP project in the U.S., the companies said.

Houweling's Camarillo operation also features five acres of photovoltaic solar panels that provide one megawatt of electricity.

Would Houweling's consider its Camarillo greenhouse operation to be the state-of-the-art in controlled environment agriculture, or CEA?

"Yes," concurred David Bell, Houweling's chief marketing officer. "The integration of Ultra-Clima semi-closed greenhouse design in conjunction with tri-generation CHP energy production puts our Camarillo farm operation at the top."

Smart Greenhouses

The heart of CEA is the "intelligent greenhouse" -- a sophisticated, precision engineered, solid-state, controlled climate growing space that provides optimum conditions for crop growth. There are numerous examples of the "brains" behind Einstein greenhouses.

Climate Control Systems, for instance, has been manufacturing greenhouse automation systems since 1985. The company's product lines include the Climate Manager, Fertigation Manager and Fertigation Water Treatment Systems. These products are designed to help growers with commercial greenhouse operations maximize crop yields and help with water conservation and energy savings.

The PC-based Growtronix System, meanwhile, is an all-in-one grow room controller. It enables growers to monitor their growing climate with the option of continuously graphing the data from temperature and humidity sensors. Also on hand are a Web interface for remote monitoring and control plus an iPhone app that enables growers to get emails and text messages to alert for real-time smoke and flood detection, motion detection, open doors or windows, out-of-range temperature or humidity, low CO2, low nutrient reservoirs, too high or too low pH, and more.How are solar outdoor lighting products different from other lighting, like fluorescent or incandescent?

Then there's the IntelliClimate from Autogrow Systems -- represented by American Hydroponics in the U.S. -- that will run multiple light banks, multiple fan banks, air conditioners, heaters,How does a solar charger work and where would you use a solar charger? dehumidifiers, humidifiers, CO2 injection, intruder alarms and more.We carry a extensive line of Parking Lot Lighting inventory.

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