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To All Those Who Eat: Controlled Environment Agriculture is in Your Future

Most folks understand what it means to be proud of a job done well.  Here at FSG, we’ve been thinking a lot lately about the particular thrill of doing a great job on projects that do good work, too.

In markets across the country, we understand the satisfaction of driving down the road and looking over at a new hospital, university building, or warehouse facility and thinking, “We helped build that!”  Sometimes we see electric vehicles (EVs) on the road around us and we think, “We probably installed an EV charging station that car will be using.”

It might be as simple as driving by an automobile dealership or shopping mall at night and saying, “Wow!  Those new LED lights look fantastic.  We really did a great job on that project.”  After 40 years in the lighting and electrical business, it is not difficult to look around and see something that makes us proud.

But as everyone knows, good work delivers many rewards and satisfaction is only one of them.  Another huge reward we have been thinking about this year is the knowledge that the work we do is part of a larger movement toward a brighter future.

Thanks to the hard work of our horticulture lighting division, FSG is on the front lines of the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry, where the way we produce food is being fine-tuned for a future that values water conservation and delivers consistently excellent fruits and vegetables.  Our CEA customers are investing and innovating today so that we all have access to clean, healthy food tomorrow, and working with them gives us hope in addition to the pride we feel when we do a great job.

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) today delivers fresh water and healthy food tomorrow.
Source: iStock

What is CEA?

Controlled Environment Agriculture includes any kind of growing operation that is not located outside with full exposure to the natural environment.  Most folks have seen commercial greenhouses, and they represent a large portion of the CEA industry.

Indoor farms are also a big part of the CEA industry, and while they may be less familiar to us than greenhouses, this is only because they sometimes look like every other building you might drive by and not really notice.   What’s going on inside, however, is changing the world.

Whether the CEA operation uses greenhouses or indoor facilities, the common feature is that the grower controls the environmental factors that support plant growth.  On one end of that spectrum is your granddaddy’s greenhouse in the backyard, where hot house tomatoes feed the family and a few neighbors each summer, and where sometimes a space heater gets brought inside during a bad cold spell.

At the other end of the CEA spectrum are indoor hydroponic and vertical farms, where crops are grown and harvested every day of the year, and where every detail of light and air and nutrition has been maximized to deliver peak yields.  In these growing operations, granddaddy is welcome to take a tour, but plant scientists, architects, and software engineers are running the show. 

One Word Says it All: Water

According to Steven Covey, the American educator, businessman, and public speaker who introduced us all to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” When it comes to our future food supply, water is the main thing.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of CEA is the fact that indoor growing environments, and especially vertical farms, use between 70% and 95% less water than traditional agricultural practices.  Think about this the next time you hear about the ongoing drought conditions in the western United States, or about the troubling situation with water levels in the Colorado River.

In fact, according to the California Department of Water Resources, 80% of all surface and groundwater resources used each year in the state support traditional agriculture. The continued rise and adoption of modern CEA practices is the answer to our current water challenges.

Think of it this way: water resources are just like everything else in life.  You only start to value and protect them when you begin to appreciate their scarcity. (Think knee health, short-term memory, a guilt-free chicken fried steak dinner, World Series Championships, all the good stuff.)

The current state of the Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado is an example of why CEA is so important.
Source: iStock

Regardless of why it happened, around the globe we are seeing a decline in freshwater resources.  We just are. Thankfully, the CEA industry has risen to address this existential challenge while providing us with the most delicious fruits and vegetables we have ever had the pleasure to eat.  

That, friend, is an honest-to-goodness two-fer. (Can we get an “Amen” on some good news for a change?)

FSG Delivers Horticultural Lighting and Control Success

Our name says it all: Facility Solutions Group. For customers in the CEA industry, where the latest facilities might feature lighting and control systems that push the limits of any technology or innovation that has ever come before, we know we have to bring the best products and services to every project. 

Knowing this is true thrills us, and inspires us to meet CEA customers where they are, on the front lines of the most important work being done today.  After all, in a world full of wants and needs, food is, always has been, and always will be the biggest need.


We have turned the power of our national distribution business toward the challenge of providing the best products that lead the CEA industry.  Through partnerships with recognized leaders like Pangea Global Technologies, RapidGrow LED, Fluence, MaxLite, Verjure, and others, FSG can deliver the finest technologies to CEA customers, at scale and on time to support their new construction or retrofit projects.

Through our network of over 30 branch locations all across the country, FSG can provide the turnkey offering of design, specification, procurement, installation, and ongoing service that delivers lasting value to CEA customers.  We support our CEA customers in their mission, and we share their sense of urgency.

Two FSG team members examine a CEA software solution.
Source: FSG Media

Best of all, FSG is the ultimate partner to help your CEA operation realize the full extent of utility company rebates and incentives, many of which can literally make the difference between success and failure for a CEA business.   In fact, some of the products and systems we provide meet unpublished, 2nd-tier rebate standards that utility companies don’t even advertise.

From project financing through warranties and ongoing maintenance long after the work is completed, FSG is positioned to be the one call successful CEA operators need to make to ensure their operations run smoothly and efficiently.

Contact FSG Today

If you are a CEA customer interested in having just one number on speed dial for all your lighting, control systems, and electrical needs, give FSG a call today at (877) 293-6689.  We want to talk to you about your project, your specific challenges, and some of the solutions we offer that just might exceed your expectations for success.


Let us help you understand the rebates that might make a lasting difference on your next project.  Most of all, contact us to find out how it feels to have a true partner in your CEA operation, one that shares your sense of urgency and understands your mission in CEA.

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