carbon & water footprint (9)

15 Apr 2019

Understanding Carbon Footprint in Production and Use of Landscape Plants

Ingram, D.L. (University of Kentucky), Hall, C.R. (Texas A&M University), and J. Knight (University of Kentucky)

Understanding carbon footprint (CF) and the underlying science is important to minimizing the negative impacts of new product development and assessing positive or negative cradle-to-grave life-cycle impacts. Life cycle assessment was used to characterize representative production models of field-grown and container-grown landscape plants. The dominant contributor to CF and variable costs of field-grown trees is equipment use, the majority of which is at harvest. Plastics, energy use for irrigation, and fertilization are the major contributor to CF of container-grown plants. Greenhouse heating can also be impactful on the CF of plants depending on the location of the greenhouse and the length and season(s) of production. Knowing the input products and activities that contribute most toward CF and costs allows nursery and greenhouse managers to consider protocol modifications that are most impactful on profit potential and environmental impact.

8 Jan 2019

Global Warming Potential, Variable Costs, and Water Use of a Model Greenhouse Production System for 11.4-cm Annual Plants Using Life Cycle Assessment

Ingram, D.L. (University of Kentucky), Hall, C.R. (Texas A&M), and J. Knight (University of Kentucky)

Life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to analyze production system components for a 11.4-cm container of wax begonia in a 12-plant shuttle tray modeled in a gutter-connected, Dutch-style greenhouse with natural ventilation in the northeastern U.S. The global warming potential (GWP) of input products, equipment use and environmental controls for an individual plant would be 0.140 kg CO2e and the variable costs would total $0.666. Fifty-seven percent of the GWP and 43% of the variable costs would be due to the container and the portion of a 12-plant shuttle tray assigned to a plant. Electricity for irrigation and general overhead would be only 13% of GWP and 2% of variable costs. Natural gas use for heating would be 0.01% of GWP and 0.001% of variable costs, even at a northeastern U.S. location. This was due to the rapid crop turnover, and only heated for 3 months of a 50-wk production year

HortScience 2018 (464 KB)

29 Aug 2017

2017 California Nursery Conference: Part One

Bridget Behe (Michigan State University), Joshua Knight and Dewayne Ingram (University of Kentucky), Alexa Lamm and Peyton Beattie (University of Florida)

This conference, held on July 27, 2017 in Irvine, CA, focused on Water Management in Nursery and Greenhouse Production. The Clean WateRteam presented their research studies. This first part (of three) covers carbon and water footprint, water conservation, and economic cost of water. The topics covered are:

1-1WaterFootprintofNurseryProduction (2668 KB)
1-2EnvironmentalImpactPotentialandCostNurseryProduction (2704 KB)
1-3EcosystemServicesLandscapePlants (1349 KB)
1-4MarketingWaterUsetoConsumers (1099 KB)
1-5HowGrowersMakeDecisions (716 KB)

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Description of research activities

A national team of scientists is working to encourage use of alternative water resources by the nation’s billion-dollar nursery and floriculture industry has been awarded funds for the first year of an $8.7 million, five year US Department of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture –Specialty Crop Research Initiative competitive grant.

The team will develop and apply systems-based solutions to assist grower decision making by providing science-based information to increase use of recycled water.  This award from the NIFA’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative is managed by Project Director Sarah White of Clemson University.  She leads a group of 21 scientists from nine U.S. institutions.

Entitled “Clean WateR3 - Reduce, Remediate, Recycle – Enhancing Alternative Water Resources Availability and Use to Increase Profitability in Specialty Crops”, the Clean WateR3 team will assist the grower decision-making process by providing science-based information on nutrient, pathogen, and pesticide fate in recycled water both before and after treatment, average cost and return-on investment of technologies examined, and model-derived, site specific recommendations for water management.  The trans-disciplinary Clean WateR3 team will develop these systems-based solutions by integrating sociological, economic, modeling, and biological data into a user-friendly decision-support system intended to inform and direct our stakeholders’ water management decision-making process.

The Clean WateR3 grant team is working with a stakeholder group of greenhouse and nursery growers throughout the United States.

For example, at the University of Florida graduate student George Grant is collecting data on removal of paclobutrazol, a highly persistent plant growth regulator chemical, from recirculated water using granular activated carbon (GAC) filters. This is being done in both research greenhouses and in a commercial site. The GAC filters can remove more than 90% of chemical residues, and are proving to be a cost-effective treatment method.