US (CA): Westerlay ups its green-growing flower power

Carpinteria’s Westerlay Orchids has recently made significant changes to its operations and facilities to increase its eco-friendly flower-growing potential and decrease its impact on the environment, the business announced.  Ahead of Earth Day, Westerlay’s president, Toine Overgaag, has led the installation of over 560 solar voltaic cells to the orchid company’s facilities. Westerlay expects these solar voltaic cells to generate 320 kWh per year of electricity at its Via Real location and provide 100% of all electrical needs for the facility. 

Westerlay also announced future plans to increase sustainability and efficiency through additional solar panels; energy curtains; and offsetting emissions. Working with Greenhouse System, Westerlay is 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. 

Through Carbon Footprint Ltd., Westerlay plans to offset 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 the company’s strategy for reduction. 

“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,” Overgaag said. “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 (the program.”

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