While our principal focus is on growing and distributing four million vibrant phalaenopsis orchids per year throughout the western United States, as part of our long-term vision, Westerlay Orchids is focused on sustainability through continuous reduction of its carbon footprint. Solar panels, energy curtains, and a irrigation recycling program combined to reduce Westerlay’s carbon footprint by 43 percent from 2018 to 2022.
Westerlay installed 561 solar voltaic cells forecast to generate over 300 kWh per year of electricity at its primary location, and this will provide 90% percent of all electrical needs for this facility. Westerlay is looking to install more solar panels in the future.
Westerlay, in cooperation with Greenhouse System USA, has replaced insulating energy curtains in over 650,000 square feet of greenhouses. This is estimated to save 55,000 btu of natural gas used for heating.
In 2018 Westerlay installed a 300,000 square foot irrigation water recycling catch system water use by 38 percent. This system additionally reduced natural gas consumption by 11%. Channeling the water enables a drier environment in the greenhouse and requires less heating to maintain temperature and humidity.
In 2021 and 2022, through Carbon Footprint Ltd., Westerlay offset carbon emissions by 2,399 per year tCo2 through direct financial support of a wind power facility in Tamil Nadu, India. Since 2019, Westerlay has worked with Carbon Footprint, a third-party verification service, to measure carbon emissions and determine their strategy for reduction.
Additional Sustainability Efforts
Integrated Pest Management
To minimize pesticide usage, we introduce naturally occurring predators to keep the pest population in check, making for a cleaner environment and a healthier plant.
CO2 Capture Technology
‘Waste’ exhaust from our boilers is captured, cooled and injected into the greenhouse as pure CO2. This increases photosynthesis by 10-15% spurring plant growth and re-capturing carbon in the plant itself to reduce environmental impact.
Retractable energy curtains have been installed in our greenhouses to retain heat at night reducing need to natural gas powered heating by up to 72%.
MPS (Sustainability Certification)
Westerlay has achieved an ‘A’ rating every year since 2015 from MPS, the internationally recognized independent horticultural rating agency, and the carbon reduction efforts have contributed to this ‘A’ rating. Eco-friendly changes at Westerlay have quickly put them on the map as an example for others to emulate, positively impacting the climate and the community.
“We benchmark ourselves against thousands of other horticultural companies worldwide, and this allows us to compare fertilizer, water, fossil fuel, and pesticide use to our peers. In the subset of orchid growers, we are graded at the head of the class for all categories and have achieved an ‘A’ for every year we have been part of MPS,” says Westerlay president Toine Overgaag.
To learn more, please visit https://volgjebloemofplant.nl/en and enter 803496 to see our rating