Valentine's Day Made Greener with Local, Renewable Energy


Local Flower Grower Len Busch Roses Benefits from Efficient Biomass Energy and A New Statewide Team is Available to Support Wood Energy Technologies


(Plymouth, MN) -  Growing roses has demanding heating requirements, especially in Minnesota’s climate. Local, renewable energy has played an integral part in Len Busch Roses’ greenhouses for over thirty years.


“The key thing is that we are able to use a close, local energy supply,” say Pat Etzel, Senior Technician with Len Busch Roses. “Renewable biomass has been essential to the company and for keeping heating costs reasonable.”


To support innovations in high efficiency wood energy systems, like the systems at Len Busch Roses, Minnesota has a new statewide team.  The Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team includes diverse organizations and individuals with expertise to support effective use of wood energy technologies.


Len Busch Roses has used local biomass energy since the 1970s.  The original systems used waste wood from local kitchen cabinet manufacturers.  In 2000, Len Busch Roses added a new biomass boiler.  The new equipment is able to turn local tree trimming waste and brush into renewable energy. Len Busch Roses is one of the only rose growers in the country outside of California.


Today, the entire greenhouse is heated with environmentally friendly biomass boilers that burn tree trimming waste provided from the local communities. The company estimates an eighty to ninety percent heating costs savings by using local biomass.


“Innovation is critical to our company,”  says Etzel. “In addition to using renewable energy, all of our greenhouses are covered with a twin wall acrylic sheet that reduces heat costs and is low maintenance. We also use hydroponics and reduce fertilizer consumption by capturing and recycling excess water from our operations.”


Minnesota’s Statewide Wood Energy Team has been developed to help Minnesota facilities and businesses move toward realizing the opportunity to cut costs, support local economies, and advance clean energy development. With support from the USDA Forest Service, the team’s 2014 programs include making funds available to support businesses and other facilities that are interested in commercially available wood energy systems.


Details about the funding opportunities and application process are forthcoming.  Eligibility requirements will include commercial applications of modern wood energy technologies and project development beyond the initial feasibility investigations.  For further information, or to be added to the contact list to receive funding information when it becomes available, please contact:  Anna Dirkswager, 651-259-5253,



About the Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team

The Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team consists of individuals and organizations that work together to advance woody biomass goals and recognize the need to promote woody biomass utilization as a strategy to accomplish: forest management, diversified markets for the existing forest products industry, forest wildfire risk reduction, economic development and localized wealth retention, and state renewable energy strategies.  The core team includes representation from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota Duluth, Natural Resources Research Institute, and the USDA Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center, the Clean Energy Resource Teams, Dovetail Partners, and the Headwaters and Arrowhead Regional Economic Development Commissions.   Additional partners include the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, USDA Rural Development, Minnesota Forest Resources Council, Great Plains Institute, BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota, FVB Energy, WoodMaster, Fond du Lac Band of Superior Chippewa, and the Agricultural Utilization and Research Institute. The project manager is Minnesota DNR Biomass Coordinator, Anna Dirkswager.