Developing best practices in controls and automation for controlled environment agriculture
As controlled environment agriculture continues to expand, so does the availability of technology to enable efficient operational production. Resource Innovation Institute is proud to start its next working group to develop best practices for indoor and greenhouse operators to consider as they integrate controls and automation into their facility design.
The Controls & Automation Working Group will advise on developing the Controls & Automation Best Practices Guide for CEA. The guide will be written and published by Resource Innovation Institute, available to producers for free download, and promoted and distributed by the USDA.
”“Controlled environment agriculture facilities are more machine than building, always in operation, a collection of finely tuned components reacting to indoor conditions and outdoor weather. These machines have evolved from manual control to thermostatic control, integrated thermostats, and microprocessor control, with each step furthering precision to achieve better crop yields. Sensors have evolved to measure plants more directly. More recently, control of environment equipment has been focused on reducing energy and water consumption, as well as integrating conveyance and plant tracking. The mission of the Controls & Automation Working Group is to distill current industry expertise and the latest engineering and plant science breakthroughs into a single handy resource. The Best Practices Guide will provide actionable recommendations for large and small operations. Its goal will be to improve resilience while maintaining profitability, by reducing energy and water costs, and waste emissions.”Rob EddyResource Efficiency Horticulturist
Working Group Charter
The charter of the Controls & Automation Working Group is to:
- Determine best practices for the selection and integration of controls and automation into large and small CEA operations, including design recommendations for new facilities and retrofitting or upgrading existing facilities
- Describe the techniques and benefits of equipment integration to improve efficiency and reduce training costs
- Provide actionable recommendations for programming HVAC-D, lighting, irrigation, shade & thermal curtains, CO2 enrichment to reduce energy use, water consumption and waste emissions
- Provide effective recommendations to reduce operating costs and further profitability of CEA operations
- Describe the emerging technology in machine-vision plant grading, plant tracking, conveyance and data management for CEA operations
- Provide recommendations to lay groundwork for future incorporation of AI and machine learning
- Provide recommendations on controls-related policy guidance