Ter Laak Orchids is a leading grower of potted phalaenopsis, producing 6 million plants a year. Last year, it built a state-of-the-art growing facility at a second location, bringing its total area to 12 hectares. The company installed four different types of shade screen to achieve the optimum climate for these beautiful plants.
The new greenhouse was fitted with SOLARO 6125 OA E AW outdoor screen, and cultivation manager Richard Driessen says: “It’s great. On summer days, I can now keep the greenhouse temperature significantly lower by closing the outdoor screen, which means I can tweak the windows so that the humidity doesn’t fall and I can maintain a good CO2 level. Because I don't need to put chalk on the roof, I'm not screening out solar energy unnecessarily in the mornings."
Driessen uses LUXOUS 1547 D FR screen to save energy and maintain a sufficiently humid climate during the day. Potted phalaenopsis requires just the right amount of light – not too much and not too little – and he achieves this using the 70% screening provided by SOLARO 6827 O FR AW. He is equally enthusiastic about the way in which the screens allow him to control light conditions. “In the spring I close the outdoor screen on sunny days, in summer I use all three screens, and in autumn it’s back to the outdoor screen.”
He also uses OBSCURA 10070 FR WB+BW blackout screen to control day length, which alters the plants’ activity and improves their quality. “We're still at the experimental phase with day length control, but we've already had good results,” he says, adding that the blackout screen also saves energy and complies with light pollution laws.
After a year of using the four shade screens, Driessen has a good idea of their potential. He says the main challenge over the next twelve months will be to continue using them as effectively as possible. His two main objectives: to give the plants more light, and achieve even greater energy savings.