Home » DryGair’s Environmental Benefits – Understanding Energy, Toxicity, GWP & ESG

DryGair’s Environmental Benefits – Understanding Energy, Toxicity, GWP & ESG

Growing food, flowers and medicinal plants has a substantial environmental impact. Especially when it comes to growing in protected environments, such as greenhouse and indoor grow rooms. Besides providing effective humidity control, DryGair’s environmental benefits include energy savings and a reduced use of toxic sprays. Reducing the environmental footprint of horticulture is a major part of our ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) and mission statement.

There are three main avenues in which horticulture negatively impacts the environment – greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuels, due to intense energy usage; toxic chemicals, including pesticides and fungicides; and water consumption, used to irrigate crops.

There is an additional potential risk to the environment in the form refrigerants, used in air conditioning systems, such as HVAC, and refrigeration-based dehumidifiers. But the risk associated with refrigerants is only realized when a leak occurs, which is extremely rare.

How Horticulture’s Energy Requirements Impacts the Environment

Greenhouse growing means controlling the climate conditions, including temperature and humidity. These require intense heating, as well as ventilation or dehumidification, in order to reduce humidity.

When it comes to indoor growing, energy requirements are even greater, as growers need to add intensive grow lights to their operation.

In most cases, producing energy involves burning fossil fuels. So the use of energy will result in greenhouse gas emissions in one form or another. Some fuels, like coal, are toxic to burn, and pollute the air with additional toxins, in addition to carbon emissions.

For these reasons, it’s important to minimize the energy requirements of greenhouses and grow rooms.

DryGair was developed with this purpose in mind. Traditionally, growers use ventilation in order to remove humidity, which inevitably builds up in any closed growing environment. The problem is that by releasing air, they also release heat, which then requires reheating. This technique results in massive amounts of lost energy, which has a huge impact on the environment.

Using DryGair, growers can reduce humidity from inside the space, and avoid releasing their hot air. On average, growers save 50% on energy by using DryGair.

Collecting Hundreds of Liters of Usable Water

Water consumption is at the heart of horticulture, and has been since humans grew their first crops. But overuse of water sources, especially in more arid regions, can lead to them drying out, creating water scarcity for the local population.

But irrigation water doesn’t have to be single-use. Over 90% of irrigation water ends up in the air, as moisture. Plants constantly transpire, releasing water to the air in the form of water vapor.

Traditionally, this water would be lost to the environment. In a single greenhouse, this can amount to hundreds or even thousands of liters per day!

DryGair, in effect, collects this water from the air, using controlled condensation, and turns it back into liquid form, providing clean, usable, distilled water.

DryGair’s Environmental Benefits – Cutting Toxic Pesticide and Fungicide Use

Pesticides and fungicides are toxic chemicals growers use to prevent and eradicate pest and fungal outbreaks. Intensive use of these chemicals increases the toxicity of the crops, which we then consume.

But that’s not all. These toxic chemicals can seep into the water or ground, polluting the area surrounding the greenhouse, harming nature and wildlife.

One of the biggest reasons greenhouse and indoor growers use these chemicals, is due to fungal outbreaks associated with high humidity, like botrytis and powdery mildew. These outbreaks are often a result of poor or lacking humidity control.

Relying on ventilation alone to reduce humidity is insufficient. When weather outside is humid, or cold, releasing air may not result in a humidity reduction at all, leaving growers with no option but to use fungicides to combat outbreaks.

The Risk of Refrigerant Leaks

Every refrigeration system, including air conditioning systems, HVAC, and dehumidifiers require refrigerants in order to operate.

During operation, the coils inside the unit cycle the refrigerant. As it absorbs heat, it transitions from low-pressure gas to high-pressure liquid. When it cools down, it transitions back to gas. This is a closed cycle, and the refrigerant is never released. No air conditioning or refrigeration system would work without refrigerants.

The potential environmental risk of refrigerants is only ever realized if there is a leak, which is extremely rare and a result of a malfunction or improper maintenance.

Nonetheless, leaked refrigerants do have a substantial impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Which is why certain countries have restricted the use of refrigerants with a high GWP (global warming potential).

GWP measures global warming impact as CO2 equivalent, where 1 GWP = 1 CO2e.

Refrigerants Used in DryGair Units

DryGair units are designed and built by climate expert engineers, and use the most efficient refrigerants, according to regulations.

Starting in 2020, the EU has banned use of HFCs, including refrigerants, with a GWP of over 2,500.

Today, DryGair uses R513a in most units sold in Europe, which has a GWP of 631.

It’s important to stress that the GWP value given to refrigerants refers only to the potential harm, should there be a leak. Under normal operation, refrigerants do not pollute at all, and are perfectly safe.

DryGair‘s Environmental Benefits

One of DryGair’s core missions is to help growers reduce their overall environmental footprint, and promote a cleaner, safer world.

By using DryGair, growers drastically reduce their energy use, by 50% on average, as well as hundreds of liters per day of usable water. Additionally, by controlling humidity and preventing humidity related diseases, growers only use a fraction of the fungicides, or even stop using them completely.

We take pride in the fact that using DryGair provides an overall net benefit to the environment. We continue to improve and optimize our systems to provide more efficient dehumidification and further reduce the energy requirements and environmental footprint of modern horticulture.

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