Plant Growth Facilities Manager
Location: West Lafayette, IN, USA
Greenhouse: 30,000 Sq. feet
Climate Challenges: Maintaining year-round stable climate, with summertime shading and winter energy savings
Svensson Solutions: Harmony & Obscura screens providing shade and light diffusion, retaining heat at night, day length
Purdue University is a land, sea, and space grant public research university with an exceptional greenhouse horticulture research program. Their Horticulture Department research greenhouses are managed by Nathan Deppe, who utilizes Svensson’s 50% closed structure Harmony screen to help manage climate in the research greenhouse chambers, and Svensson’s Obscura 10070 WB screens as a manual day-length control cover for bench top research plant.
Nathan started working for Purdue with the light diffusing Harmony screens already installed in Purdue’s greenhouse facilities and has been happy with happy with Harmony’s ability to successfully balance the greenhouse climate. The 30,000 square feet research greenhouse complex requires a mild and consistent climate to accommodate the needs of many different ornamental and vegetable plant species being grown for a variety of uses. The Harmony screen provides fifty percent shading, diffuses sunlight for more even light spread in the narrow greenhouse chambers, and reduces shadowing from the greenhouse superstructure above the crops.
"The screen is great for energy savings at night and during the winter," Deppe says, "but also doubles as a great shade screen on sunny days and throughout the summer because of the high grade light diffusion."
One of the challenges of maintaining a variety of species for research is that plants with different environmental requirements must occupy the same greenhouse chamber. For Nathan, one challenge was how to entice some bench rows of chrysanthemum, a short-day plant, to flower, while the surrounding benches contained plants having their day length supplemented by artificial lighting. The solution Nathan turned towards was Svensson’s Obscura 10070 WB pulled manually over the chrysanthemum benches to create shorter days for these research plants.
"Harmony is great for energy savings at night and during the winter, but also doubles as a great shade screen on sunny days and throughout the summer because of the high grade light diffusion."
”Despite being in a room with a 14 hour photo-period, the Obscura screen allowed our plants to flower on time for our research purposes,” Nathan explained. ”Ambient light at bench level in the greenhouse room was 150 umol/m2/sec, and this was reduced to 0.5 umol/m2/sec under the single layer White/Black Obscura.” This near elimination of PAR from use of the Obscura 10070 WB provided enough of a blackout effect to trigger and maintain the short-day flowering response in chrysanthemums. ”The temperature under the Obscura remained reasonably stable, even when the screen was pulled in place during sunny days,” said Nathan.
Nathan and Purdue’s Horticulture Department looks forward to continue working with Svensson and hopes to have more opportunities to utilize the Harmony and Obscura climate screen families for research purposes.