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Greenhouse Energy Cost Reduction Strategies



In an industry with declining profit margins, and with volatile fuel prices, there is increasing need to grow greenhouse crops in an energy-efficient manner.  The best approach is to attack this industry threat using a variety of strategies.  In collaboration with horticulturists, agricultural economists, and agricultural engineers, we have developed this web site to provide summary information on production strategies and technologies that greenhouse growers can use to consume less energy and improve production efficiency.  Please click on the links above for more information on each topic.  Additional resources are below.

Greenhouse Energy Conservation Strategies

This 16-page summary, in pdf format, presents 13 production strategies and technologies that greenhouse growers can use to reduce energy consumption and improve greenhouse production efficiency. Topics include:

  • Energy-efficient lighting
  • Managing greenhouse temperature
  • Reducing air leaks
  • Retractable curtains
  • Maintaining heating equipment
  • Horizontal air flow fans
  • Efficient ventilation systems

Although many of these concepts can apply to virtually any greenhouse-grown crop, the focus is on the production of floriculture crops in controlled greenhouse environments located in temperate climates. Written by Erik Runkle (Michigan State Univ.) and A.J. Both (Rutgers Univ.).


Greenhouse Sustainability Podcasts

In 2011, Erik Runkle worked with the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C.; the Dutch Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation; and Ferguson Caras LLC to explore how growers, industry leaders, and academics are addressing greenhouse sustainability issues. A series of interviews was performed on camera in the U.S. and the Netherlands, where topics such as energy, water, automation, and lighting were discussed. About 40 short videos, typically 2 to 5 minutes in length, were created and are available at the project's YouTube channel.



We would like to thank the Michigan Floriculture Growers Council, who received a grant from the USDA Rural Development Office to help subsidize the costs of developing this energy resource.  In addition, Project GREEEN has provided funding to researchers at Michigan State University to generate research-based information on how to optimize temperature and light to increase greenhouse cropping efficiency and thus reduce energy consumption.

The information on this website was compiled and organized by Matthew Blanchard (former post-doctoral research associate) and Erik Runkle (professor), Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University.  If you would like to suggest a research-based article for this website, please E-mail Erik.

Click on the bulleted topics at the top of the page for more information.


Permissions: We have made every effort to seek permission to use all material that appears on this web site.  If we have inadvertently used anyone’s material without permission, we will be happy to make the necessary arrangements at the first opportunity; please contact MSU Printing Services Course Materials Program (Lynne Woods).  We especially thank Greenhouse Management magazine and Greenhouse Grower magazine for allowing us to post reprints of their articles on this website.



  Copyright © 2019, Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University.

  This page was last edited Jul 1, 2017.
  Please send your comments to Dr. Erik Runkle runkleer@msu.edu

MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. This information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned.