Reducing Greenhouse Energy Costs with Sunarc Technology

February 13th, 2007 |
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Sunarc has invested more than $4.5 million in its On-Demand Insulation & Shade System for commercial greenhouse growers. The company claims its system dramatically lowers energy costs and improves crop yield and quality. PodTech’s Rio Pesino spoke with Sunarc President and CEO Len April at the Cleantech Venture Forum in New York about how the technology works.

The Cleantech Forum is right around the corner, February 19-22, in San Francisco. The San Francisco Cleantech Forum brings together more than 600 top investors, companies and thought-leaders for two days of unparalleled networking and cutting edge exchange. Register here.

Transcript:

Host: Rio Pesino – PodTech

Guest: Len April – Sunarc

Rio Pesino – PodTech

This is Rio Pesino for PodTech.net. I’m here with Len April, President and CEO of Sunarc. Welcome to the Podcast Len.

Len April – Sunarc

Thank you very much.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Now, Len go ahead and tell me a bit about Sunarc, what’s it all about and why you guy are here at Cleantech?

Len April – Sunarc

Thank you. Sunarc has developed an On-Demand Insulation & Shade System, primarily targeted at the commercial greenhouse market. What we’re doing is we’re infusing liquid foam, specially formulated liquid foam, between the two layers of the double polymembrane of a greenhouse, and we do that only at night. So, in effect we’re putting a R15 roof on a greenhouse every night.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Interesting.

Len April – Sunarc

In the morning the liquid foam has dissipated on its own and enables solar energy, natural heat, to enter the greenhouse all day long. It’s a closed loop system, so we repeat that again every day during the cold season to insulate the greenhouse. What we’re enabling is greater than 50%, 50% heat energy saved for commercial greenhouse growers.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

That’s a lot. I’m looking at the demonstration here and seeing how it works, it looks pretty interesting. How long have you guys been in business?

Len April – Sunarc

The company was around — 2000 was when it was started.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

How many employees are there?

Len April – Sunarc

We’re 15 employees right now.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

What are some challenges you guys are facing in regards to your product, and you guys trying to push?

Len April – Sunarc

Challenges, when you talk to a grower that is spending anywhere from a $100,000 to $4 million every season to heat their greenhouse, and you can pretty much guarantee that they’ll save at least 50%, because we’ve actually demonstrated up to 60% heat energy saved. You really get their attention, and we’re talking substantial dollars.

The other thing that’s interesting about this system is it also can be used as a shade system. Instead of using it at night in cold weather, you can use it midday in a hot climate or temperate zone summers. We provide shading, and this provides fantastic agronomic benefits to a grower, including increase crop yield, increase size of fruit and less waste. So, we’re contributing to a grower’s top line and we’re also saving the money and reducing their operating cost on the bottom line.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

What are your numbers in regards to sales of this product so far?

Len April – Sunarc

We have no sales yet. We have eight systems that are up and running and we’re currently negotiating our first sale’s contract as we speak.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Last question for you Len.

Len April – Sunarc

Sure.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

What are your thoughts on this Forum over all, Cleantech over all?

Len April – Sunarc

I think it’s really interesting. My own background is in Information Technology, so I was part of the Internet boom and bust, and following that we saw Biotech, and what Cleantech is doing is they’re creating a community of investors for the clean technology area and I think it’s fantastic.

Rio Pesino – PodTech

Okay, well Len, thanks a lot for the Podcast, I appreciate it.

Len April – Sunarc

Thanks Rio.

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