Climate screens can be useful tools for growers not just in efforts to save energy, but in improving crop quality. Below, Mauricio Manotas, President of Svensson's Americas Subsidiary, discusses the benefits of a climate screen, who they work with on other technology and more.
Greenhouse Management: What are the benefits of using a climate screen?
Mauricio Manotas: Climate screens were developed in the early 70s mainly as a source to save energy, but over time, growers have found many other uses and [climate screens] have become a key tool to grow a better crop. Now, growers have the ability to control control energy consumption, light levels, humidity and temperature, which are the main elements needed for plant photosynthesis.
GM: What are some of the climate screen options available to growers?
MM: These days we have enough options to accommodate pretty much any situation. From climate screens used in areas with low light levels and cold temperatures to shade screens used in hot climates with excess of radiation and high humidity levels. Also, products that diffuse light and control day length (blackout) and meet the fire code requirements in every country.
GM: How can a grower pick the right climate screen for their business?
MM: We encourage every grower to reach out to their screen supplier or greenhouse builder and request personalized climate advice. There is not really an “off-the-shelf” product that is going to work for every crop and location. Here at Svensson, before recommending any options, we communicate with the grower to make sure we understand their business, cycles, location, crop, greenhouse type and additional equipment. With that information we create a personalized solution that fits that specific case.
GM: Do climate screens work well when used with other tools growers use (lighting, cooling systems, etc.) to control their environments?
MM: A greenhouse is a microcosm where all the equipment needs to work well together. Otherwise, we end up having more problems than benefits. The “brains” of all this is the climate computer system where you can control every piece of equipment that goes into the greenhouse, from irrigation to lights and screens. They all are programed when setting up the parameters to work in sync. This is very important in any greenhouse operation.
GM: What can Svensson do to help growers pick the right climate screens for their greenhouses?
MM: Here at Svensson we have a consultancy team that visits growers, and based on their request, they create a document that is called SCA (Svensson Climate Advice). This document takes into consideration all aspects of the growing operation and is given to the grower so he can use it as baseline. We also follow up during the growing season, making sure our products are meeting the expectations and sometimes collaborate with other components manufacturers (climate control computers, etc.) to make sure the grower makes the most of his or her investment. We have always looked at the growers as our partners in business and our success is fully tied with their success.