In a mass of orchids, ten thousand spots of color form a gigantic, wonderfully fragrant mosaic in the luminous winter sunshine. Outside, the cold is crisp, with people's breath condensing to a white mist. The flowers, however, are flourishing because only the light reaches them, the icy cold staying outside.
For flowers and vegetables to grow and thrive in a greenhouse, a great deal of heating energy is required—which isn't really surprising because in most cases the walls and roof are made completely of glass, through which much heat is lost. For this reason, modern greenhouses are often made of PLEXIGLAS® from Evonik. This reduces heating costs considerably—and the plants are equally happy with this alternative.
In the imposingly large greenhouse in De Lier in the Netherlands, it's always the right season to grow flowers because disturbing weather conditions are simply excluded. Be it cold, precipitation, or excessively strong sunlight, Plexiglas products keep out anything that hinders the growth of the plants. This largest Plexiglas greenhouse in the world used about 500 metric tons (t) of the versatile material, corresponding to an area of about 100,000 square meters.
The requirements can be formidable: for example, individual Plexiglas sheets for gigantic greenhouses in Finland are up to twelve meters long. Although Plexiglas greenhouses are visually indistinguishable from the conventional variety, they offer a number of advantages. The sheets from Evonik have good insulating properties. Insulating air cushions in the sheets allow substantial savings: Energy costs are up to 50 percent lower than for glass greenhouses. Or, to put it another way, CO2 emissions per hectare of land are reduced by about 600 t annually.
To allow plants to grow under conditions as natural as possible, Plexiglas ALLTOP sheets are also designed to be particularly transparent to ultraviolet light. It isn't only the Dutch who rely on Plexiglas greenhouses; Scandinavians and North Americans are now discovering this energy saving option for themselves. And growing colorful flowers even in winter without seeing red over energy bills.
- The Question: How can energy consumption by greenhouses be reduced?
- The Idea: By substituting an alternative material for glass.
- Evonik's Response: Plexiglas ALLTOP double-skin acrylic sheets. These have outstanding insulating properties and allow plant growth under conditions that are as natural as possible.
- The Benefits: Flowers can be grown all year round in Plexiglas greenhouses, with lower energy costs and reduced CO2 emissions.