We mimic nature in our greenhouses. The climate and growing conditions are managed with a view to making the orchid feel completely at home. This requires energy, water and crop protection. To minimise our environmental impact, we invest in sustainable innovation and research. We have come a long way but are not there yet. We growers are pushing for fossil-free, emission-free and chemical-free production.
Where are we now? We are already doing a lot to save energy as well as switching to natural energy sources. A good example of this is the DaglichtKas (Daylight Greenhouse). Special lenses in its roof concentrate the rays of the sun onto a tube containing running water. The focal line this creates heats the water in these tubes. The heat can be used to warm the greenhouse either straight away or at a later point. This enables us to use 40–50% less energy! We also use solar panels, LED lighting, heat pumps, Next Generation Growing and ground-coupled heat exchangers.
Goal for 2030: Fossil-free cultivation
How will we tackle this? For fossil-free cultivation, reducing energy consumption in greenhouses and switching completely to green energy sources is crucial. We determine the perfect energy mix and work towards it step by step. Doing so requires time, research and investment. We are, among other things, affiliated with a geothermal energy project that is under development. Geothermal energy is a sustainable and clean source of energy that involves pumping hot water from deep in the ground. This heat can be used to heat our greenhouses. The cooled water is then pumped back into the ground. We are also exploring options such as solar, wind and hydrogen energy.
Where are we now? Water is a scarce commodity that must be handled with care. In our nurseries we collect rainwater to water the plants, and we largely recirculate the water used. As a result, our water consumption is kept to a minimum and surface water stays clean. What's more, we have an underground water storage facility. We use this facility to sink excess rainwater into the soil, which we can then pump back up in dry times. Not only that, but it also enables us to combat soil salinisation and help keep water levels down in the surrounding area in case of heavy rain.
Goal for 2027: Full recirculation
How will we tackle this? We are aiming for full recirculation. This, too, requires time and research. In the coming years, we will take the final steps to fully stop emissions to surface water.
Where are we now? We are dedicated to producing top quality orchids. Diseases and pests can complicate this goal. To avoid such problems, we invest in prevention and strong plants. After all, prevention is better than cure! If a disease or pest does break through, we deploy biological methods, such as predatory mites that eat aphids. Sometimes, such methods are not enough and chemical crop protection agents still need to be deployed locally. And this is where our challenge lies. You could compare this to the human body. Eating healthy food and getting enough sleep keeps us fit and healthy. If we do succumb to a cold or the flu, we need to wait for it to pass. Sometimes we need some help in the form of paracetamol or antibiotics.
Goal for 2030: Chemical-free cultivation
How will we tackle this? The move to entirely chemical-free cultivation requires much time and research. After all, we must find alternatives for eradicating diseases/pests and maintaining plant quality. We are working towards our goal step by step.