Eduard ter Laak: "Sustainability must always be profitable"
At Ter Laak, standing still means lagging behind. During this interview with Eduard ter Laak, the pile-driving activities can be heard in the background. The construction of the new DayLightGreenhouse is underway. Ter Laak won the International Grower of the Year award in January 2018. The company has sustainability written in its DNA.
Eduard ter Laak states, "To us, sustainability is something we cannot ignore. We feel it is our duty to the market and to society to be economical with our environment."
Making the company even more sustainable
What was the stimulus for Ter Laak to build the sustainable DagLichtKas (DayLightGreenhouse)? Eduard explained, "Our customers want us to grow. At the same time, Tennet was searching for a location for sustainable wind energy, and this energy supplier came knocking at our door. They ultimately decided to set up an offshore wind park. But Tennet's visit left us feeling challenged to make our company even more sustainable." Ter Laak received the International Grower of the Year award in January 2018 specifically for its emphasis on sustainability. "The award is a great reward and an additional stimulus to continue realising our sustainable character."
The new DagLichtKas, which is expected to start production in the spring of 2019, captures sunlight for reuse in the greenhouse. An ingenious system with special lenses in the cover focus sunbeams on a tube filled with flowing water. The resulting focal point heats up the water in these tubes, which is then stored. This heat can be utilised immediately or at a later moment to heat the greenhouse, for example at night or in the winter.
Eduard continued, "By doing so, we save 40-50% on energy. It is sustainable and highly efficient. Both aspects must always be present. Sustainability is important for the market and society, and investments must ultimately lead to profit."
More plants and more quality
The daylight system has been extensively tested, first at a test location of the WUR in Bleiswijk and since 2013 on a small scale at Ter Laak. The data are now available for all growers. The idea is that more growers will be interested in using this system having seen the results at Ter Laak. "All growers are really enthusiastic about it. Another bonus is its high level of sustainability," added Eduard with a smile. He also stated that the quality of the production of Phalaenopsis will improve due to the DagLichtKas. "More plants and more quality. And every plant receives more light with the improved technology."
The first plants have already been moved into the 5 ha DagLichtKas. In 2019 an Inspiration Centre will be built. Eduard described it as "A place to inform and inspire our customers about our company and our products."