The PCS branch in Destelbergen, Belgium, has initiated the construction of an ambitious investment project. The launch of the new construction was performed on 3 October 2016 by the Flemish Minister for Environment, Nature and Agriculture, Joke Schauvliege, and East Flanders’ deputy for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Alexander Vercamer. The complex will count no less than 4,770 m2 of high-tech test greenhouses and 700 m2 of office space.Photos: PCS website
Anticipating social expectations
The modern ornamental grower works in technologically advanced greenhouses where temperature, humidity, fertilizer and irrigation are fully automated. Energy saving screens and grow lights ensure greatly reduced CO2 emissions. Harvesting rainwater and reusing irrigation water relieves pressure on the environment. By investing in biofilters and reed beds the last waste water is purified. Pests and diseases are addressed environmentally friendly, with the use of natural predators, so less chemical intervention is required. In this manner, the Flemish ornamental grower wants to anticipate on social expectations. He is a committed entrepreneur who leads an intricate, future-oriented business based on solid cultivation expertise.
Joke Schauvliege on the left, Alexander Vercamer on the rightOpening
On Monday 3 October 2016, the start of the new construction was inaugurated by representatives Flemish Minister for Environment, Nature and Agriculture and East Flanders deputy for Agriculture and Country Side. In their presence the new planters were planted at the future entrance.
A total investment of 5.7 million euros can be realized thanks to the support of the Flemish Government, the Province of East Flanders, the Provincial Chamber of Agriculture and the company’s own reserves. This will allow the PCS to strengthen its exemplary role towards Flemish ornamental growers and landscapers. The PCS wants to lead in the sector by demonstrating innovative and sustainable techniques and test their practical value and economic feasibility for the companies.
The new 4,770 m2 test conservatories will demonstrate innovative technologies that reduce the need for costly resources like energy and water and minimize the emission of environmentally harmful substances. Test conservatories are more complex than standard cultivation conservatories:
The 32 compartments are completely separately controlled as to climate, screens, ventilation, lighting, irrigation, etc. In the smallest compartments (36 m2) we acquire knowledge about innovative techniques to ready them for practice. In the medium-sized compartments (116 m2) we do practical research on a larger scale, so growers can evaluate its practical value. In the largest compartments (up to 230 m2) we demonstrate techniques on an even larger scale, similar to what happens on farms.
Allowance is made for maximum control (individually controllable compartments), replicability (several identical compartments for comparative tests) and flexibility (ability to integrate future innovative techniques). In addition, two compartments will also be dedicated to multilayer cultivation, with a strong emphasis on energy saving by placing several layers of cultivation in the same, highly insulated compartment. One of the compartments will be insulated with high-quality, double glazing. Another will be completely without daylight.
In the 700 m2 office building energy efficient and ergonomic techniques will be used and the design will include lots of plants and greenery. After all, studies show that the use of greenery in offices has a positive effect on the health and productivity of employees. The new building will have a green wall on the inside and outside, creating a nice green effect in a small area. This will be an example for integrating greenery in office buildings and densely built-up areas.
By demonstrating this progressive new infrastructure Flemish ornamental growers and landscapers will be encouraged to implement these innovations in practice. These sustainable and profitable techniques will allow them to improve their competitiveness and remain at the top internationally.