As the horticultural industry faces both an ever-increasing global food demand and climate change, greenhouse growers are looking for solutions which can adapt to the changing conditions. Enter Hortinergy, a company which offers an advanced online software that simulates the indoor climate and energy consumption of a greenhouse project.
Vincent Stauffer, director of Hortinergy, explained that “Hortinergy provides a software which simulates the climate and energy consumption inside a greenhouse, doing so for any geographic location and a wide range of greenhouse crops.” Pushing the envelope even further, Hortinergy can model such conditions according to different greenhouse models and lighting systems. Hortinergy developed its software suite in collaboration with Agrithermic, an independent engineering firm specializing in greenhouse energy efficiency and climate control.
By simulating the climate and energy performance of a greenhouse, the Hortinergy software facilitates the comparison of technical solutions for a greenhouse project and the reduction of energy costs. “The Hortinergy software has a very advanced functionality,” says Vincent. “It allows you to model energy use in closed greenhouses, semi-closed greenhouses, with different glazing materials, shade screens, artificial lighting, etc.”
When using the software, the user first fills out a form with all the information about your greenhouse, including the location and targeted crops. Within 20 minutes of submitting the form, the user receives calculated results in the form of a comprehensive PDF report, a spreadsheet with hourly results data for a year and a spreadsheet with weekly and monthly results data for a year. With these results in hand, the user can then complete the form anew but with a different scenario; scenarios can then be easily compared through the software’s comparison interface, which allows the user to compare the scenarios on a technical and economic level.
In collaboration with Meteonorm, Hortinergy has released a module which simulates different IPCC scenarios for 2030, 2040, 2050 and 2100, thereby enabling greenhouse design that will stand the test of time and climate change.
The Hortinergy software is mainly used by crop advisors, research centers, greenhouse consultants and various equipment suppliers, who can then make better recommendations to growers with respect to greenhouse design. The software is in use across Asia, Europe and parts of Africa. In 2021, the company has prioritized its expansion into North America, namely the United States and Canada.