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Title:Development of safety and sustainability metrics for greenhouses and analysis of selected greenhouse sites in North America
Author(s):Thissen, Jaime
Director of Research:Davidson, Paul C
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Davidson, Paul C
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kalita, Prasanta; Ellison, Brenna; Aherin, Bob A
Department / Program:Engineering Administration
Discipline:Agricultural & Biological Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Greenhouse, sustainability
Abstract:Greenhouse crop production is increasing as consumer demand increases, specifically in areas where the natural climate is more hostile to the desired production. However, no assessment of the sustainability (namely safety dimensions) of existing facilities currently exists, and there is sufficient consumer demand for assessing this from seed to shelf. The purpose of this study is to assess the sustainability of current greenhouse systems in North America. Twenty-four greenhouse facilities in the private sector volunteered to provide data for the development of sustainability metrics. Additionally, facilities with either or both vegetable and ornamental production participated in this study. Each facility was assigned a region: Florida, Northeast, Midwest, Michigan and Southwest. Sustainability was assessed through the development of individual categorical sustainability equations. The final value was an “S-score” for each facility with a range of zero to ten, with zero as the worst or lowest value and ten as the best or highest value. Key parameters were organized according to five general categories based on economic, energy, environmental, social and safety aspects as well as applied techniques. Descriptive statistics were analyzed to determine parameter dominance and statistical significance while an exploratory factor analysis was used to determine relevancy of the parameters. The facilities ranged in size from a small, seasonal greenhouse to large facilities ranking in the top 100 in the U.S. in terms of size. The S- scores ranged from 4 – 8 with an overall average environmental score of 6.5. Larger facilities tended to have higher S-scores; regionally, the Southwest performed the best. These results are due to better overall management of the organization, which typically included more rigorous, organized operational training procedures. However, every facility required improvement in at least one category.
Issue Date:2021-12-03
Rights Information:Copyright Jaime Thissen 2020
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-04-29
Date Deposited:2021-12

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