About covered cropping

New Zealand's weather and climate is variable from season to season, which impacts our ability to grow fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, and fungi. Growing fresh produce in greenhouses means that New Zealanders can get fresh, locally grown food at any time of year, and producers can continue to trade.

Covered cropping provides New Zealand with year-round food security — particularly important during winter, when severe weather events are more common and can affect food production.

Greenhouses by size


Greenhouses by fuel type


Five steps to decarbonising covered cropping

  1. 1

    Engagement and awareness

    Understanding the emissions impact of businesses in the covered cropping sector is a key step towards beginning your decarbonisation journey. Understanding which processes are carbon intensive can help identify your opportunities.


    Download the following flowchart to view an overview of a generic natural gas system for heating greenhouses. The chart highlights the area that is most carbon intensive for covered cropping.

    Natural Gas System [PDF, 38 KB]

  2. 2

    Measure and target

    Knowing what to measure and how to measure it is an important step in decarbonising. In this section, find resources and tools to measure and account for energy consumption and see how your business compares to others within the covered cropping sector.

    Resources and tools

    Energy Calculator Instructions [PDF, 121 KB]

    EECA Energy Calculator [XLSX, 128 KB]

    Energy Benchmarking - overview [PDF, 77 KB]

    Energy Benchmarking - full report [PDF, 926 KB]


  3. 3


    Reviewing and adjusting the way equipment performs can be a big win for energy reduction, as well as cost and productivity.


    Use the covered cropping check sheet as a guide to identify opportunities for your business to optimise and improve productivity and efficiency — and reduce cost.

    Covered cropping check sheet [PDF, 131 KB]

    Find more information at TomatoesNZ(external link)

  4. 4

    Demand reduction

    New technology or upgrades to existing processes can reduce energy demand. 


    Download a technology scan of the greenhouse industry in the Netherlands by EECA and Tomatoes New Zealand, reviewing the best global approaches and innovations toward energy transition and decarbonisation in the covered cropping sector.

    Innovative Technology Report [PDF, 4 MB]

  5. 5

    Fuel switching

    Fuel switching to renewable energy sources is the final step to decarbonising. By following steps 1-4, you'll be in the best position to make an informed decision about fuel switching, in the most cost-effective way.


    We are currently working with the sector to identify a fuel switching pathway. In the meantime, check out our existing information on relevant renewable energy sources for the covered cropping sector.

    Renewable energy for businesses(external link)

Read case studies from the covered cropping sector

  • Indoor cropping | Innovative emissions reductions

    Three indoor cropping business have saved costs and carbon emissions by adopting fresh technologies – thermal screens, dehumidifying heat pumps and LED grow lights

    22 July 2021

  • The greenest capsicums in town

    Southern Paprika's new carbon dioxide recovered biomass boiler is helping to reduce the carbon emissions of one of New Zealand's largest growers.

    15 December 2021

    • Co-funding 
    • Decarbonisation
    • Case study