Chapter 2

Greenhouse Heating

(draft book excerpts)

Heating is a major concern to commercial greenhouse operations. This is due primarily to the costs involved in the purchase and operation of heating equipment as well as the potentially disastrous effects of a poorly designed system can have on crop production. Although solar energy represents a significant factor in greenhouse heating, supplemental systems are a necessity for year round production. Greenhouse heater requirements depend upon the amount of heat loss from the structure. Heat loss from a greenhouse usually occurs by all three modes of heat transfer: conduction, convection and radiation. Usually many types of heat exchange occur simultaneously. The heat demand for a greenhouse is normally calculated by combining all three losses as a coefficient in a heat loss equation. Suitable energy sources include natural gas, LP gas, fuel oil, wood and electricity. The cost and availability of these sources will vary somewhat from one area to another. Convenience, investment and operating costs are all further considerations. Savings in labor could justify a more expensive heating system with automatic controls.

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