Greenhouse horticulture: making it more sustainable with data- driven business operations

Greenhouse horticulture is an important engine of the Dutch economy. The glass greenhouse with its technical installations has become an important export product. Each year Dutch suppliers export 2.5 billion euros’ worth of greenhouse technology worldwide. 

In addition, data is also becoming more important as a foundation for recyclable agriculture.

TNO supports and advises the greenhouse horticulture sector by making innovative technologies applicable to the cultivation of vegetables, fruit, flowers and plants. TNO innovates in three areas:

Calculation models for greenhouse construction

TNO supports greenhouse construction companies with the design of economic greenhouses, transferring knowledge to the companies in the form of calculation models, such as CASTA/Kassenbouw. TNO also helps individual companies with product developments.

System Integration and Optimisation Model (SIOM)

TNO and Stichting Hortivation co-developed SIOM, a tool that greenhouse construction companies can use when talking to the investor or horticulturist. SIOM lists the different technologies and provides information on payback times, operating results and efficiency. In this way, a well-considered investment decision can be made.

Linking data flows for sustainable greenhouse horticulture

Greenhouses deliver more and more data streams (big data). Suppliers want to use this data for services such as 'Growing as a service'. Data also plays an important role in the success of recyclable agriculture. TNO helps the companies to collect and enrich the data.

TNO works closely with Stichting Hortivation.

  • Hortivation aims to develop and disseminate collective knowledge among suppliers.
  • Hortivation collects the development wishes of the companies concerning greenhouse horticulture.
  • Together with TNO, Hortivation is drawing up a roadmap and initiating new development projects for greenhouse horticulture.
  • Hortivation issues licenses for the jointly developed calculation models.


In order to remain in constant contact with companies in the sector, TNO is a participant in the World Horti Centre at Demokwekerij, Westland. This is where horticulturalists and suppliers meet and discuss innovations. There is also an exhibition area for demonstrating technologies that have already proven themselves in practice.


TNO has a wealth of innovative techniques at its disposal, from which greenhouse builders can benefit. They can choose from various forms of cooperation to engage TNO. Entrepreneurs can work with TNO to solve concrete problems. Or they can get advice to become orientated about possible improvements in business operations. Entrepreneurs in the greenhouse horticulture sector can contact Egon Janssen.


Building Physics & Systems

The building and construction industry is full of innovative ideas. TNO helps companies (building and construction companies, suppliers, architects) to make this tangible by sharing knowledge and providing... Read more

Safe and Sustainable Living Environment