Westerlay Orchids continues sustainable practices

Apr 23, 2024
Westerlay Orchids continues sustainable practices

Westerlay Orchids has grown quality orchids for over 20 years to become California’s largest commercial orchid grower, distributing nearly 4 million orchids annually. At the same time, Westerlay is trailblazing with sustainable practices that tread lightly on the planet.

Eco-friendly practices at Westerlay have put them on the map as an example for others to emulate, garnering an ‘A’ rating every year since 2015 from MPS, the internationally recognized independent horticultural rating agency.

Westerlay announces two new initiatives focusing on reducing energy consumption this Earth Month. All efforts at Westerlay drive them to reach their ultimate goal of carbon-neutral production.

“Growing orchids is our passion, and offsetting emissions and reaching carbon neutral is our mission at Westerlay. These 2024 initiatives to reduce energy consumption, coupled with our efforts with energy curtains, offsetting emissions with Carbon Footprint, our massive irrigation recycling system and more, will get us there,” said Toine Overgaag, Westerlay president.

The 2024 Sustainability Projects at Westerlay include:

  • Implementing dehumidification units at the Foothill facility, powered by heat pumps, is anticipated to elevate overall energy consumption by 15%. This comprises a reduction of 25% in natural gas usage, balanced by a 10% increase in electricity consumption.
  • The installation of 184 greenhouse glass panels integrated with solar voltaic cells. Success with this research and development initiative could lead to replacing all current greenhouse glass with these panels, enabling the sustainable generation of all required on-site electricity.

Westerlay benchmarks against thousands of other horticultural companies worldwide to compare fertilizer, water, fossil fuel and pesticide use to peers. Other significant efforts to reduce its carbon footprint include working with Greenhouse System to replace and insulate energy curtains in over 650,000 square feet of greenhouses. Westerlay also installed a 300,000-square-foot irrigation water recycling catch system in 2018 that reduced water use by 38%. Channeling the water enables a drier environment in the greenhouse and requires less heating to maintain temperature and humidity.