Controlled Environment Agriculture – Energy Savings Opportunities – ACEEE

Any investments that can increase yield, reduce operating costs, and improve overall productivity are attractive to growers.

A variety of horticultural products are grown indoors, either in greenhouses or, increasingly, in fully enclosed buildings. Indoor agriculture—or controlled environment agriculture (CEA)—is an energy intensive endeavor. Cultivators must create the optimal growing conditions for a commercial crop, using artificial lighting, heating, cooling, and dehumidification to mimic the ideal outdoor environment favored by each plant.

As production ramps up, we are seeing increased interest in limiting the energy used to grow crops indoors. Growers, facility designers, equipment manufacturers, and efficiency program administrators are exploring opportunities to save energy and water and improve the sustainability of the industry.

This brief explores technical advances as well as policy and program options to reduce energy use in this expanding market sector.