The commercial nursery at Gartneriet Hjortebjerg in Søndersø, Denmark produces a large assortment of flowers and plants for indoor and outdoor use. In 2010, an ATES (aquifer thermal energy storage) system was installed to extract and store summer heat to use as energy for the greenhouse in the cooler months. The installation marked a stark pivot from the horticulture industry's tendency to rely on fossil fuels and district heating for energy. Gartneriet Hjortebjerg became Denmark's first greenhouse to store excess heat.
In the summer, 96% of the heat generated inside the 8,000 sq m greenhouse is extracted via large pipes and then stored in a groundwater reservoir below the nursery. When outside temperatures become cool again, the stored heat is used to warm the greenhouse. In this way, the nursery maintains an energy-optimal environment all year long.
Compared to natural gas heating, the ATES solution has reduced CO₂-equivalent emissions by 330 tons annually. Gartneriet Hjortebjerg has reduced their total annual heating costs by 60% and is ensured a reliably efficient, sustainable operation for many years to come.