US (CA): Three steps an orchid grower is undertaking to reduce carbon footprint

As part of its long-term vision, Westerlay Orchids is focused on sustainability through continuous reduction of its carbon footprint. Solar panels, energy curtains, and a robust offset program will combine to reduce Westerlay’s carbon footprint by 43 percent in 2021, with a vision of achieving carbon-neutral production by 2026.

“We benchmark ourselves against thousands of other horticultural companies worldwide, and this allows us to compare fertilizer, water, fossil fuel, and pesticide use to our peers.  In the subset of orchid growers, we are graded at the head of the class for all categories and have achieved an ‘A’ for every year we have been part of MPS,” says Westerlay president Toine Overgaag.

Solar: Westerlay is installing 561 solar voltaic cells forecast to generate 320 kWh per year of electricity at its primary location, and this will provide 100 percent of all electrical needs for this facility. Westerlay is looking to install more solar panels in 2022.

Energy Curtains: Westerlay is working with Greenhouse System in replacing and insulating energy curtains in over 650,000 square feet of greenhouses. This is estimated to save 55,000 therms (British Therma Units (Btu) of natural gas used for heating.  

Offsetting Emissions: Through Carbon Footprint Ltd., Westerlay is offsetting carbon emissions by 2,399 tCo2 through direct financial support to construct a wind power facility in Tamil Nadu, India. Since 2019, Westerlay has worked with Carbon Footprint, a third-party verification service, to measure carbon emissions and determine their strategy for reduction. 

These efforts at Westerlay build on past efforts like installing a 300,000 square foot irrigation water recycling catch system in 2018 that reduced water use by 38 percent. Another payoff beyond the conservation of water has been a reduction in natural gas consumption. Channeling the water enables a drier environment in the greenhouse and requires less heating to maintain temperature and humidity. Westerlay reduced its natural gas consumption by 11 percent, an amount in terms of carbon footprint equivalent to taking 29 cars off the road. For 2023, Westerlay is looking to add another 300,000 of drain system.

For more information:
Westerlay Orchids
3504 Via Real, Carpinteria, California
T: 805.684.5411
F: 805.684.5414

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