As the largest producer of azaleas in the U.S., while also producing annuals and nursery stock, energy-efficient climate control for Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas is a must.

The Woodburn, Oregon, nursery has used environmental controls in their greenhouses from Argus Controls for almost 30 years. Tom Fessler, president of the nursery, says he’s used Argus Controls’ “classic system” since 1990 and he hasn’t considered any other system on the market since.

The Argus Controls System features hardware modules and software applications to monitor a greenhouse’s controlled environment and equipment automation, according to Argus Controls. The system manages a greenhouse’s temperature, humidity and ventilation to start.

Fessler says he decided to use Argus Controls’ environmental controls when Argus Controls’ former owner, Alec Mackenzie, stopped by Fessler’s nursery while trying to open the market of the company in Oregon.

“He stopped by the nursery at about 4 o’clock and we listened to him until about 7 o’clock that evening,” Fessler says. “He said, ‘I’ll give you a trial for six months. I’ll supply the equipment.’”

Although his father wanted nothing to do with computers, Fessler says it didn’t take long for him and his brother to decide to keep the system once they started the trial.

“Within about two months [of the trial], we knew we were going to keep it,” he says.

Photos courtesy of Argus Controls

Because of Argus Controls, Fessler says the nursery became more profitable by reducing its energy consumption.

“We are much more energy-efficient now than we ever were,” he says. “We were on thermostats [before], and they’re just not consistent.” The system also helps with crop uniformity and ventilation, he says.

And the environmental controls aren’t the only efficient aspect of the system, according to Fessler. The installation was quick and the system is reliable.

“We just basically bypassed our thermostats, went into their system and then plugged it in, and away we went,” he says about the initial trial installation.

“To me, probably the best feature that [the system] has is [it’s] very dependable,” Fessler says. “If there’s a failure on anything, it kind of takes care of itself.”

He says that the customer service of the company is “excellent” because of their availability and readiness to fix any issues that could come up with the system.

“The biggest thing for me is the fact that they are available to help,” Fessler says. “We get our questions answered. If we have an idea that we want to do something, they can help us get there.” — Samantha Cottrill