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Sustainability, lean process come together in greenhouse project

“I have a much better understanding of our entire operation from participating in the project,” said greenhouse grower Kendra Hutchins.

“I have a much better understanding of our entire operation from participating in the project,” said greenhouse grower Kendra Hutchins.

By Nancy Doolittle, reposted from Pawprint [2014-06-12]:

Greenhouses are essential to hundreds of Cornell faculty and students who need to maintain and grow plants year round for research, teaching and outreach, especially in Ithaca. But, greenhouses are hardly green.

This past year, staff and faculty from the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) worked with staff from Organizational Effectiveness to use the “lean” process improvement approach to save on greenhouse energy without diminishing the essential value of Cornell’s greenhouses.

The energy currently used to heat and light 164 Ithaca campus greenhouse units – the largest noncommercial greenhouse facility in New York State – produces the same greenhouse gas emissions each year as do 2,642 passenger vehicles or 1,744 homes. The greenhouses off Tower and Caldwell roads total 144,624 square feet; and on a square-foot basis, heating a greenhouse costs $5 to $9.50 annually and lighting $3 to $6 annually.

“Our efforts to save energy began with the greenhouse growers,” said Mike Hoffmann, director of CUAES and associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), referring to the staff-empowered approach utilized by the lean process.

Read the whole article.

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