Save energy and promote sustainability are central themes of the work of Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture for the Greenhouse as Energy Source program. The arm winter had implications for the energy used in cultivation experiments, but by using a model a warm winter is not lost winter for energy research.
This year we are dealing with relatively mild winter and spring months. December to April is about 2.8°C warmer than it was for long-term average. This has implications for the energy used in cultivation experiments during this period. Less energy for heating was needed.
For example in the project: 'A Perfect Rose, energy efficient grown' the use of heat in recent months was much lower than we expected. The last 10 weeks, this saves 50%. We will achieve the target for energy consumption for heating in the experiment. Is this realized because it has been warm outside or because we grow energy efficient? If comparable greenhouse units are used for an experiment, the difference in energy input can be used to express the saving in energy. For the rose experiment we have only one compartment. In order to make the knowledge useful for other years it is necessary to exploit the results with a greenhouse climate model, such as KASPRO. With a model you can answer the question: what would have been the energy use at an average winter.
By using a model a warm winter is not lost winter for energy research. The combination of experiments and modelling makes it possible to contribute to the further development of techniques for realizing the ambitions of the energy research program.