Phoenix, Arizona is home to the Southwest’s premier vertical aeroponic food farm, True Garden—the first of its kind, solar powered aeroponic greenhouse in the U.S. capable of producing cool season crops year-round. Utilizing a combination of smart technologies including Svensson climate and insect screen solutions, crops such as lettuce and kale flourish throughout the seasons, despite the stifling summer temperatures in the desert region.
With sustainability at the forefront of this urban hydroponic garden, True Garden uses 95% less water and 90% less space than other conventional farms. The plants grown in the operation's vertical towers aren’t treated with any chemicals or pesticides,and are more nutrient-dense than traditional produce. "The use of vertical towers in our 5,000 ft2 greenhouse, allows us to produce the same amount of yields as that of a 50,000 ft2 traditional greenhouse facility," says Troy Albright, Founder and CEO.
In order to grow year-round, pesticide-free produce in the harsh desert environment, True Garden relies on Svensson's diffusive Luxous 1547 D FR energy screen to create the perfect micro climate for their heat-sensitive crops, and Econet 1515 insect netting for effective pest exclusion that doesn’t compromise ventilation.
Climate control amidst the desert’s summer heat
During the summer months, when temperatures can reach up to 120°F (49°C) during the day and remain at 90°F (32°C) at night, the state-of-the-art greenhouse uses the diffusivity of their Luxous screen to affordably maintain optimal temperatures.
"Thanks to our energy screen’s diffusive properties
we can extensively reduce the afternoon heat load"
"To help control the climate in the summer our Luxous 1547 D FR screen is used between the hours of 1:00 – 3:00 PM, when the solar radiation is the most intense. Ideally, we want to keep temperatures under 87°F (30°C) in the greenhouse and can do so thanks to our energy screen’s diffusive properties; which extensively reduces the afternoon heat load in the spring and summer months when temperatures peak," describes Albright.
More energy savings in the winter
During the winter True Garden operates in a naturally ventilated mode, which coupled with the savings gained using their Luxous energy screen, the operation is able to minimize their energy use —consuming very little energy during the winter season.
"We not only use our Luxous screen for energy saving purposes during the winter, its diffusive characteristic allows more light to reach the lower plants on our towers, maximizing the light in the greenhouse during the shorter winter days."
In addition to their energy screen, the high-tech operation also uses Econet 1515, an insect control screen that effectively excludes pests such as thrips and whiteflies, preventing them from entering the greenhouse through the ventilation system. Albright further explains, "We installed an Econet, anti-thrip screen so that we could provide fresh products to local growers and consumers without using any potentially harmful chemicals found in pesticides."
"Econet’s high porosity design has provided us with the
adequate airflow needed to maintain lower temperatures"
Econet’s ability to exclude pests without diminishing airflow hasn’t brought about any climate compromises or concerns for True Garden. "We were initially wary of the insect net’s potential to restrict airflow, but so far Econet’s high porosity design has provided us with the adequate airflow we need to maintain the lower temperatures demanded by our crops in the summer," concludes Albright.