Night sky by-law uncovers new problem for greenhouses

(Photo by Darrin Drouillard)

Since Kingsville adopted a bylaw to protect the night sky just over a year ago, compliance by greenhouses in the area has been good.

However, the investigation into one greenhouse that didn’t comply has turned up a new vexing problem.

The greenhouse had curtains designed to contain the light but wasn’t using them.

Closing the curtains all the way may cut down on light pollution, but it also retains heat, humidity, and moisture, and that can be bad for the crops.

Administrative staff in Kingsville have reached out to researchers at the Harrow Research Centre, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, and the University of Guelph who are studying light abatement.

Their suggestion is to keep the curtains open just a little. Opening them by just ten per cent allows all the heat and humidity to escape. It’s gapping, and the science is evolving.

The study will wrap up in 2023, but interim results will be released.