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Energy management

Bunnik Plants and Priva are committed to sustainable solutions for energy management.

Would you like to know more about energy management? 

Peter Könemann
  • Fossil fuels are becoming scarce. This observation is forcing many greenhouse horticulturists to adjust their energy management and to consider alternatives. Potted plant specialists Bunnik Plants of Bleiswijk are well ahead of this trend. For over 20 years, the company has been getting its heat from the RoCa CHP plant in Rotterdam. The CO2 comes from OCAP. In addition, several years ago they installed 8,500 solar panels on their greenhouses. "This means we can meet our energy needs in a highly sustainable manner - and in fact we generate more power than we use," explains Frans Bunnik.

    Sustainability is a major priority at Bunnik Plants. "The greenhouse horticulture industry as a whole needs to go in this direction. For instance, the planned 'heat roundabout' in this region will offer sustainable solutions for many growers. A boiler should only be used as a temporary solution, as is the case with us." In spite of the company already having a head start in the area of sustainability, Bunnik Plants is constantly looking for new opportunities, such as geothermal energy or the use of wood stoves. "This is something that the entire greenhouse horticulture industry needs to be doing, because there are some fantastic market opportunities for the sector in this area. With our solar collectors we can generate 1.8 megawatts, a portion of which is sold back to the grid."

    To fully exploit the potential of alternative energy sources, Frans Bunnik believes it is essential to work together with a wide variety of partners. "There are initiatives in place, but implementation is often rather more difficult, partly because of the role of government. In future, we need to focus more on energy clusters, with municipal authorities and industry. Heating homes with heat from the horticulture industry is one of the possibilities. We need to work hand in hand to save the planet and respond to social developments."

    Of course, the Bleiswijk company is also closely monitoring developments in the area of ​​diffuse glass and LED lighting. "We've carried out a trial with diffuse glass and it's certainly an interesting option for new construction projects. In the broad area of energy savings, it's true that you never stop learning as a grower. This also applies to LED's. In our case, it's 15 years since we built new greenhouses. Developments have not stood still in that time, and that provides some fantastic opportunities and challenges for the future."



    Bunnik Plants' energy vision is very wide-ranging. "We look at ourselves, at the world and at everything in between. Working to create a better, cleaner world has become an essential part of our business philosophy. We do our best, but we need the cooperation of all the parties in the sector. Our customers also have a role to play, because it is them who specify the requirements. In that way, our industry is a bit like sport at the highest level, because every day we strive to be top of the league."

    These efforts have been recognized, as proven by their nomination for the Horticulture Entrepreneur Prize 2017. "But we ourselves are also proud of what we have achieved with a large group of employees. People in greenhouse horticulture need to reflect a little more often and enjoy what has already been achieved." Energy-efficient trucks, electric cars for the sales force, 100% biodegradable covers, pots and boxes; all these choices underscore the sustainable nature of Bunnik Plants. 

    Watch the video featuring Frans Bunnik talking about energy management: 

    Videobeeld _Bunnik _energie _youtube _1000

Bunnik Plants

Frans Bunnik is co-owner of the potted plant company Bunnik Plants in Bleiswijk. In addition to Frans, two other brothers are active in the family business. The five-person management team also includes two enthusiastic representatives of the young Bunnik generation, each with their own specialty. Keeping customers enthusiastic via the intermediate trade and encouraging them to buy plants on a regular basis, that is the company's motto. "Whenever we come across an opportunity, we make the most of it," says Frans Bunnik. "Added value is a must, because consumers are primarily buying emotion." 

Bunnik chooses Priva

One company, 25 hectares, seven crop locations and more than fifty different species, that is what Bunnik Plants is all about. Achieving the desired growing climate for each location and for each group of potted plants ensures optimum quality of the end product. Growing automation is therefore essential for the business and for the cultivation managers. "Of course, human control is still important, but the added value of computers and sensors in the greenhouse is increasing all the time. Priva is an important partner for us in that process."

The Grower Files

Under the intriguing title 'The Grower Files', Priva has launched a video section in which notable national and international growers will outline their vision of relevant issues in the (greenhouse) horticulture industry. In these video messages 'by growers for growers', the entrepreneurs will also give an interesting insight into their business philosophy.

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