Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is defined as a combination of engineering, plant science, and computer managed greenhouse control technologies used to optimize plant growing systems, plant quality, and production efficiency. CEA systems allow stable control of the plant environment including temperature, light, and CO2. CEA also provides separate control of the root-zone environment. CEA provides secure, healthy, and cost effective year-round production of many premium edible, ornamental, and high value plant species.
CEA is not to be confused with Modified Environment Agriculture (MEA). MEA technologies include low tunnel and high tunnel field applications and low tech greenhouses where the plant environment is protected to reduce the impacts of weather extremes, but otherwise offers minimum control of the plant growing environment.
NYSERDA recognizes that both CEA and MEA technologies offer the potential to increase local food production. However, NYSERDA's research focus is currently on the development of more energy efficient CEA technologies so as to mitigate impacts on our electric utility grid.
For information on how NYSERDA helps improve energy-efficiency for New York State farmers and on-farm producers, visit NYSERDA's Agriculture page.