The operating principles of our greenhouses are the same as those of 150 years ago. Then, as now, the primary goal is to maintain good growing conditions and shelter crops from the weather. New materials and equipment such as computers have made the job of controlling conditions more reliable. Maintaining good growing conditions increases yields and profits.
The Starfield Advantage
- Waist-height Crops: All crop seeding, transplanting, and harvesting is done at waist height eliminating the need for stooping and crawling. This is highly valued by older staff who can be productive without wrecking their backs or wrenching their legs.
- Carbon Dioxide Enrichment: By elevating the concentration of carbon dioxide in the greenhouse, we achieve faster growth and larger crops without diminishing the nutrient content. This enables us to grow outstanding crops in cold climate in the winter. It must be taken into account that this CO2 is metabolized into the plant and does not contribute to any GHG emissions.
- Comprehensive Water Treatment: water can be treated from all sources (pond, ditch, lake, ocean, river, and stream) to a purified base.
- Low Water Consumption: one unit can be supplied by 12 mm pipe (1/2") and uses up to 1/20 of the water used in arid field agriculture. We recirculate irrigation water.
- Winter Crops: Winter crops are now comparable or superior to summer crops; low winter light levels will reduce crop growth but low light will be compensated by Ag-Clean roof coverings that let in 96% of natural light. To extend light periods low-energy agricultural LED lighting is implemented.
- Year-round Production: 12 to 18 crops per year.
- Zero Pollution: A sustainable operation with no harm to the environment; there is no effluent discharge into the ground, and no solid waste disposal from production.
- Computer-Controlled: constant, growing environments, year around are monitored and controlled by data-assisted smart systems.
- Microorganism Control: Bio-sand water filtration where needed, UV radiation and ozone treatment.
- Soil-less Operation: Work is clean and fast.
- Structural Integrity: Maintenance-free and long-life buildings.
- Crop Versatility: Fast crop change on demand – you want it, you’ve got it.
- Plant Activity: Controlled air-flow allows for optimal dynamics for plant health.
- Humidity Control: Changes in humidity from winter to summer is regulated.
- Light Entry: maximum light entry with Ag-Clean and effective light entry design; sunlight is the driver of crop production, so the more sunlight, the better the crop growth
- Hail Resistance: Hail proof from hailstones up to 2"
- Cooling: Building temperatures are reduced when outside temperatures are hot.
- Heating: Geothermal heating on site.
- Hurricane Resistant and High Wind Design: Implemented through building materials and design of building shape: low-ground, aerodynamic.
- Off-grid Electricity: Generation electricity on site by solar (PV) & wind (where applicable).
The Hydronic Heating
Cooling a greenhouse in hot weather is as important as heating in cold weather. Off-grid PV solar powers pumps and misting fans for cooling. The warm air is pumped through the PCM storage batteries using heat exchangers.
Benefits of Renewable Fuel-based Crop Production
- Year Round Production: Pure, healthy, produce sold locally year round at affordable prices.
- Jobs: construction, production and sales year round.
- Health Benefits: Better health and lower medical costs with better diets
- Greenhouse Gas Reductions: Less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through reduced consumption of fossil fuels and through the absorption into the plants while growing.
- Better Water: We reduce potential ground water pollution because we collect and treat ground water and don't discharge our water into the environment.
Since we can generate our own heat, we are very flexible in selecting sites. We are not reliant on the location of electrical or gas lines.