Keeping the ‘Green’ in Greenhouse

Let’s face it. Changing a light bulb is not exactly a major technical challenge for maintenance professionals.

lightbulbBut what if your staff had to keep 20,000 light bulbs glowing every day of the week? And what if the success of your business depended on adjusting each of those 1,000-watt bulbs for maximum efficiency?

To deal with those questions, the maintenance team at a giant commercial greenhouse employs Bigfoot CMMS to manage grow lights and a host of other systems needed to run the climate-controlled facility. The greenhouse – which covers acreage larger than two dozen football fields – is used to grow produce year-round for major grocery chains and other markets.

To maintain proper growing conditions, literally thousands of components have to be kept in tip-top shape. Blowers, dampers, and sensors, as well as irrigation, heating and natural gas systems must all work together smoothly. In this indoor agricultural environment, if something as simple as an air vent fails to open or close properly, part of the crop could be ruined. And if the gears of an ordinary scissor lift get stuck, workers cannot reach the produce and harvest it for market. Staying ahead of breakdowns, then, is crucial; so the maintenance team depends on Bigfoot CMMS to schedule preventive maintenance items (PMs).

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A proper CMMS is necessary for facilities like greenhouses, in order to generate reports for government agencies like the EPA and the USDA, and to create maintenance records on PMs such as safety policy reviews, emergency action procedures, and spill control plans.

Then there is the issue of what to do with the waste produced by growing and harvesting plants. To address this problem, Bigfoot CMMS is monitoring CO2 emissions. Rather than dump leaves, branches, and other detritus into a landfill, the greenhouse managers decided to partner with another company to compost its waste. When that waste is blended into a slurry stream, it gives off methane gas that creates electricity. But methane also emits CO2. Instead of allowing that CO2 to escape into the atmosphere, the facility pumps it into the greenhouse where the plants absorb it and release oxygen.

And just because produce is grown indoors at the greenhouse, does not mean insects and other pests can’t get to it. Consequently, the maintenance team also has to keep careful records on pesticide use to comply with governmental regulations. Again, Bigfoot CMMS proves its worth on a regular basis through its ability to generate reports for government agencies like the EPA and the USDA, and to create maintenance records on PMs such as safety policy reviews, emergency action procedures, and spill control plans.

Given the complexity of the greenhouse operation, the maintenance team naturally fields complaints when things go wrong.  But since installing Bigfoot CMMS, the hundreds of daily phone calls from other departments have dwindled to a handful. Now, greenhouse employees can view updates on the status of repairs via Bigfoot, and unnecessary duplication of repair requests has been eliminated.

Read other success stories like this one at www.bigfootcmms.com.