The ornamental plant production in greenhouses is widespread. A quantitative assessment of greenhouse energy consumption and its variability in space and time is strategic to improve the sustainability of the cultivation. The specific environmental features of the cultivation areas can strongly affect the sustainability of the production.
A dynamic simulation model of greenhouse energy balance with an hourly time step was developed and parameterized for a state-of-the-art greenhouse to evaluate the heating requirements for cut-flower roses. This ornamental crop has been used as model species for its high energy requirement for flower production.
The energy demand for rose production has been analyzed with an energy balance model with an hourly time step. After a preliminary analysis on the period 1973–2019, the final analysis was carried out on the 30-year period (1990–2019), representative of the current climate.
Results show a gradient southwest–northeast of energy needs with relevant effects on economic and environmental sustainability. More specifically, four large sub-areas are identified, namely the central-southern Mediterranean (yearly requirements below 600 MJ m−2 year), the northern Mediterranean, and the area influenced by the mitigating effect of the Atlantic Ocean (600–1200), the central-European area (requirements of 1200–1800), and the Northern European area (above 1800).