Tremel Greenhouses grows greener with heating and lighting improvements

When it comes to managing a successful greenhouse, some of the most important considerations is keeping plants at the right temperature and under the right light. The team at Tremel Greenhouses wanted to make sure it was doing these two things as efficiently as it could.

Operating out of Smoky Lake, Alberta for over 30 years, the family-run business grows tree seedlings for reforestation and reclamation projects throughout the province. Every year, it grows up to seven million trees, including species like White Spruce, Lodgepole Pine, Jack Pine, Balsam Poplar, Native Willow, Green Alder, Trembling Aspen, and Sweet Grass. 

It was through Tremel Greenhouses’ membership with the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association that it heard about ERA’s Energy Savings for Business Program (ESB). The chance to apply for funds to support the company’s efficient heat and lighting programs made perfect sense.

“We’re always looking to expand what we do, and stay as environmentally-friendly as we can,” says Kyle Melnyk, Business Manager with Tremel Greenhouse. “A big part of those plans included updating our older, less efficient boiler system with a new high efficiency model. The funding through ESB helped us do just that, while also reducing our energy usage.”

A greenhouse uses a central boiler system to heat water and/or produce steam, which is then used to heat the greenhouses. With the $60,000 in incentives it received in ESB funding, Tremel Greenhouses expects to reduce 1.6 million tonnes of emissions from its operations.

Following its first successful application for ESB funding, the company applied again—this time to improve the efficiency of its lighting system.

“The application process was fairly straightforward, and the ERA team was always available and ready to answer all of our questions,” recalls Melnyk. “A second application for funding to help our efforts to improve the efficiency of our lighting systems was just as simple as the first.”

With the additional ESB funding, the company replaced approximately 15 per cent of its traditional high pressure sodium fixtures with improved, efficient LED lighting. The company plans to replace all its lighting over the next few years.

“We will always look for ways to become more energy efficient,” says Melnyk. “As we continue to provide tree seedlings for reforestation and reclamation projects throughout Western Canada, we are also engaging with stakeholders in carbon sequestration and want to play a role in growing this business in rural Alberta.”

The Government of Alberta committed up to $30 million for the Energy Savings for Business suite of funding through the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction fund. Up to $25 million in additional funds was made available from the Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund.