Our business is committed to sustainability.
Consumers, supermarkets as well as the government are making ever greater demands when it comes to the production methods for greenhouse vegetables.
We are continuously finding ways to make our processes even more efficient and to further reduce the use of raw materials in order to minimise the impact of business operations on the environment and the surrounding area.
We use geothermal energy and biomass to heat our greenhouses. We also use sustainable production models such as CHP and heat pumps. Cogeneration plants burn gas to generate electricity. ‘Waste products’ such as CO2 and heat are released and these are used in the greenhouse to encourage the growth of the pepper plants. The electricity that is generated is primarily used by the company. Any excess electricity not needed by Hoogweg is returned to the grid. This means that other gas and coals stations need to generate less power, therefore reducing CO2 levels and heat emission.
The heat pumps are installed behind the cogeneration plants and draw the heat that would otherwise be lost through the chimney. This is how we lower the temperature of the gases to 15-20 degrees and we use the heat in our greenhouses.
Screens are mounted in the ridge of the greenhouse and are used in winter to ensure that the cold stays out and the heat stays in the greenhouse. This means it takes less energy to heat our greenhouses.
In summer we also use these screens to protect the plants and sweet peppers against bright sunlight.
Hoogweg waters the sweet pepper plants with rainwater. Rainwater that falls on the greenhouse roof is collected in large water basins. The rainwater has the necessary fertilisers added before it is used for watering the plants. The plants stand on cultivation mats and in growing gutters. Feed and water are supplied via small hoses with tricklers inserted into the mat to enable the plants to absorb the required amount of water and feed. The growing gutters enable the unused water to be collected. The water is then purified and reused to avoid any water and feed draining into soil or surface water.
The recirculation of water means we need less water and fertilisers.
We use biological crop protection to keep diseases and pests under control. We use natural predators of insects that can damage the plants or peppers. If we are unable to control the infestation with biological methods we may – and only if absolutely necessary – use a permitted, mild crop protection which will be sprayed as locally as possible. We minimise our use of pesticides to avoid upsetting the natural balance of all insects in the greenhouse which could result in a new infestation.
Source photograph: Koppert Biological Systems
Diffused glass has been placed on top of the greenhouse roofs at the Marknesse location. This glass has a special coating to improve the light distribution in our greenhouses.
Sunlight is one of the most important things sweet pepper plants need in order to thrive. The more light, the better the plant can grow.
The glass also raises the temperature in the greenhouse which means that we need to use less heating during the winter months.
In 2018 Hoogweg decided to start making use of geothermal heat. By using hot water from the layers underneath the earth’s crust, we aim to ensure that we mainly use so-called green energy for all our operations. See our web page “Geothermal heat” for more information.
The construction of a biomass plant was started in 2020. This plant will burn certified wood chippings and the resulting heat will be used to heat our greenhouses.
This plant will only be used when the geothermal energy is unable to supply us with sufficient heat.
You can read more about this on our web page “Biomass”.