Three Scopes for Different Hydroponic Systems
The CHiPS standard is built on the practical realities of hydroponic farming. CHiPS considers hydroponic to be any crop production that takes place not in soil in the ground. Nutrients applied to roots through water solutions, whether through water beds, vertical piping, aerosols, or growing media in containers, or other methods, qualifies as hydroponic production.
The Alliance for Sustainable Hydroponics has launched the first scope of the CHiPS standard by focusing on enclosed hydroponic grows. Enclosed indoor systems covered by Scope 1 powered by electric lights have unique challenges due to high humidity, concentration of pesticides, accumulation of input residues and potentially high energy usage to light, cool and circulate air in the facility.
All hydroponic marketers make the claim that water use is reduced substantially due to recycling of nutrient solutions. The Alliance will investigate the comparative water use, sources, and sustainability of water in various hydroponic systems.
Covered hydroponic systems in Scope 2 use artificial light to augment sunlight. Their structures may allow the entry of pests from outside. These are typically hot houses and hoop houses.
Open air hydroponic operations in Scope 3 typically rely on sunlight alone. The plants grow in containers of media such as gravel or plastic pellets, which may contain some soil. Similar to conventional farms, plants are exposed to insects, wildlife and other pests, and may be exposed to drift from pesticides and other toxic materials applied off-farm. Energy usage may be lower.