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CEA Energy & Water Benchmarking Report: Establishing Preliminary Benchmarks

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CEA |  Crop |  Cultivation Approach |  Greenhouse |  Indoor |  Topic Area |  USDA |  Water |  Market Report |  Energy
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Indoor and greenhouse farming, known as Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), is a growing sector of the agricultural industry. By operating year-round over multiple crop cycles in tightly controlled environments, CEA operators can increase their annual production. However, there is little public data available on the resource usage and efficiency opportunities of these facilities.

For this report, Resource Innovation Institute used its PowerScore platform to benchmark the annual resource consumption and productivity of twelve producers growing a variety of crops in greenhouse and indoor facilities across the United States. These aggregate, measured performance benchmarks are some of the first reported for the CEA sector.

Operations were analyzed on their productivity per area of foliar canopy, rather than floor area, to better define plant growing area across greenhouses and tiered vertical CEA facilities. Producer data is compared with relevant third-party benchmarks from academic and government sources. 

Though facilities differed in their water use efficiency, the highest performing producers achieved greater than 90% water savings over field farming. PowerScore data on energy efficiency was consistent with published third-party benchmarks. Vertical farming can be energy intensive, though in some cases has an energy consumption similar to that of many greenhouses.

CEA Energy & Water Benchmarking Report: