Plant Nerds

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA)

The largest agricultural business in the State of Oregon isn’t wheat or hops or even wine grapes: it’s the nursery business – ornamenting the indoors and outdoors for Northwest green thumbs. The care and feeding of select species takes loving care, water, and a lot of energy.

When we showed up in Central Oregon we found hills carpeted with exotic plantations, greenhouses, and potted greenery. We also found a huge demand for energy: moving water to the nurseries, distributing it among the plantings, and monitoring its use all require substantial amounts of electricity. Thanks to a coalition of nurseries, and a helping hand from NEEA, a series of efficiency improvements now save not only the green thumbs, but the electrical ratepayers, substantial money and power.

One of our top five favorite sound cuts of all time came from Whitney Rideout of the Oregon Association of Nurseries: “Yeah, I’m a plant nerd.” The special bond between Whitney and Bob Terry of Fisher Farms made for great pictures and a warm-hearted tone to the entire piece.