TEXT: ANK VAN LIER - PHOTOGRAPHY: DANIELLE JISKOOT
'Working more sustainably and better product quality'
To build an exemplary company and emerge as a leader in the kalanchoe sector; that was André Lankhaar's goal when he expanded into Bleiswijk last year. That’s the same reason he decided to invest in a ClimaFlow System from Svensson. This dehumidification and ventilation system enables Lankhaar to reduce his energy costs, better control his greenhouse climate, and improve product quality.
André Lankhaar is celebrated his twentieth anniversary as an entrepreneur last year: in 2002, with his wife Petra, he laid the foundation for Nursery Lankhaar. “I grew up around our family business, which was a flower nursery,” says the grower. “When I was about ten years old, my parents were forced to shut down the business. But the horticultural world did not let go of me. I received my official horticultural training and then started working at a kalanchoe nursery.” Starting his own company was a dot on the horizon for Lankhaar. “In 2002, we were able to make this dream come true when Petra and I bought a 0.9 hectare greenhouse in Bleiswijk, where we started growing kalanchoes.”
A specialized breeding program
Over time, Lankhaar’s company continued to grow. The couple took a big step in 2008 when they moved to a rental location of 3.5 hectares. “Around that time, I also worked hard to develop partnerships in the industry. 'Collaboration' has become a core value of my company and the added value is great; we are able to leverage the strengths of other companies and focus more on what we do best.” For this reason, the grower outsources the sale of its single and double-flowered kalanchoes to Bunnik Plants. He has also been working with breeding company Agriom since 2011. “Together, we have developed our own breeding program known as Perfecta Breeding. We have the cuttings for these kalanchoes produced in Africa and then we sell them worldwide.” Due to the success of the Perfecta Breeding program, Lankhaar's business quickly outgrew its location. “We wanted to eventually transfer the breeding activities to our company. Additionally, I wanted my business to emerge as a leader in kalanchoe cultivation; a place where I could show our customers how to grow kalanchoes in a modern, efficient and sustainable way.” In November 2021, the grower then bought a former five-hectare tomato company in Bleiswijk that he then completely converted. “The whole facility was overhauled; everything was addressed and modernized.”
Dehumidification and ventilation
Early on, Lankhaar realized that saving energy and creating a balanced greenhouse climate were important spearheads for the project. “We have an Obscura 10070 R FR W blackout screen on the side wall. We also have an Obscura 10070 FR WB+B blackout screen and a Luxous 1147 FR energy screen from Svensson at the top of the greenhouse,” says the grower. “To prevent moisture problems and to keep the crop active, we were using the growth tube to create air movement. We also regularly gapped the screens. This solution used a lot of energy because when you gap a screen, it’s like dumping a bowl of cold air down into the greenhouse. After you do this, the climate is no longer controllable. We wanted more control over our climate, not less; which is why we invested in Svensson's ClimaFlow System. This is the best dehumidification and ventilation system on the market. The system is refined and fully developed; really nice stuff, the best of the best.”
“Adjusting the screen around the VentilationJet was smooth and simple”
The ClimaFlow System at Nurseryj Lankhaar was installed by Voshol Warmte-Elektrotechniek out of Waddinxveen. This company also provided all the electricity. STAS BV from Delfgauw adapted the screen installation in Lankhaar's greenhouse to the new system. “After the VentilationJet was mounted on the bar, we adjusted the wire bed and ensured that the screens connected properly,” says Bart Suiker of STAS BV, which also supplied the Svensson screens for the company. “It was especially important that the curtain closed neatly around the VentilationJet. But this was far from complicated…in fact, it went very smoothly and simply.”
The system provides Lankhaar with benefits in several areas and one of those key areas is energy savings. “We were already using less energy because the greenhouse is so new, but the ClimaFlow System increases our energy savings even more. After all, we no longer have to gap and can keep the screens closed and the use of the growth tube is also no longer necessary. That makes a huge difference, especially with the current energy prices. Additionally, the greenhouse climate is easier to control.” says the grower. “Screen gaps cause enormous ‘shocks’ ito the climate. And then the plant gets wet and mold develops; that is no longer the case now. With this system, the amount of fresh air you bring in can be controlled very accurately, which ensures a controlled and more even greenhouse climate. And all this also has a positive effect on the crop: it is more balanced and active, which translates into more buds and smaller leaves, among other things.” According to Lankhaar, an additional advantage is that he can use the system for cooling in the summer months. “You can also pull cooler air from above the screen using the VentilationJet. It is also worth mentioning that the fans are extremely quiet and use little power.”
Overall, Lankhaar is extremely satisfied with the system. “I can work more sustainably and improve the product quality. That is worth a lot to me.” This is why Lankhaar has decided to equip the rest of his greenhouse with the ClimaFlow System, in due time. “It is also important to dehumidify during the long days of winter.” Lankhaar says he cannot name any disadvantages regarding ClimaFlow. “I'm just really excited about this system. And that also applies to the customers who visit our greenhouse. They are all like: ‘I want that too!’”
Quick and efficient start-up with Svensson’s Climate House guidance
Growers who purchase a ClimaFlow System also receive the Climate House guidance included in their package. The packaged offering supports entrepreneurs so they can get started quickly and efficiently with their new ClimaFlow System. Ton Habraken from Svensson assisted Paul Weerheim, the grower at Nursery Lankhaar, with putting the system into operation. “I explained how the special Priva 'Air Blend Control software' works and I adjusted the settings in the climate computer together with the grower,” says Habraken. “As a result, Nursery Lankhaar could start from day one with a well-functioning system and they did not have to figure things out themselves. Later we fine-tuned the settings two more times. This Climate House guidance therefore ensures a rapid commissioning of the system, and 'beginner's mistakes' are also prevented.”