Chapter 5

Greenhouse Energy Conservation Strategies

(draft book excerpts)

Energy costs are the third highest cost for most greenhouse growers, behind labor and plant materials according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2009 Census of Horticultural Specialties. If not designed and maintained properly greenhouses can use a lot of energy, therefore, energy conservation in greenhouses can make a large contribution to an operation’s profitability. Fortunately for greenhouse operators, there are several opportunities during a new build to reduce future energy costs related to the operation of the business. For those who plan ahead, incorporating energy-saving measures into the design of a new greenhouse or addition can reduce costs dramatically and offer paybacks within a reasonable time period, depending on the heating and cooling options installed. For those who are retrofitting, there are several choices to help provide needed reduction in energy-related expenditures, too. As a greenhouse operator, consider the following factors in making energy conservation decisions.

Click on the following topics for more information on greenhouse energy conservation strategies.

Topics Within This Chapter:

  • Greenhouse Structure
  • Glazing Materials
  • Double-layer of Polyethylene
  • Greenhouse Insulation
  • Insulating Side Walls
  • North-facing Side Wall
  • Building Perimeter
  • Glass Greenhouses
  • Greenhouse Orientation
  • Single Bay vs. Gutter-connected Greenhouses
  • Greenhouse Air Leaks
  • Windbreaks
  • Roof and Sidewall Greenhouse Vents
  • Open-roof Greenhouse Designs
  • Greenhouse Thermal Curtains
  • Installation of Greenhouse Thermal Curtains
  • Gutter-to-gutter Curtain System
  • Truss-to-truss Curtain System
  • Greenhouse Curtain Support Systems
  • Mechanical Drive Systems for Thermal Curtains
  • Operation of Thermal Curtains
  • Curtain Materials
  • Thermal Curtains Performing Multiple Functions
  • Greenhouse Shade Management
  • Greenhouse Shading Compounds
  • Greenhouse Shade Curtains
  • Greenhouse Heating Systems
  • Maintenance
  • Heat Air Distribution
  • In-floor Heating
  • Under-bench Heating
  • High-efficiency Heaters
  • Condensing Boilers
  • Heating Fuels
  • Greenhouse Fans
  • Ventilation Fans
  • Maintenance
  • Horizontal Air Flow (HAF) Fans
  • Air Speed
  • Fan Location
  • Winter Operation
  • Greenhouse Environmental Controls
  • Thermostats
  • Central Controllers
  • Alternative Energy Sources for Greenhouses
  • Biomass Energy
  • Biomass Boilers and Furnaces
  • Components of Biomass Systems
  • Solar Energy
  • Active Solar Techniques
  • Passive Solar Techniques
  • Geothermal Energy
  • Types of Geothermal Resources
  • Geothermal Heating Systems
  • Wind Energy
  • Wind Turbine Designs
  • Mechanics of Wind Turbines
  • Energy Output of Small Wind Turbines
  • Managing Greenhouse Crops to Conserve Energy
  • Dynamic Temperature Control
  • Transplant Larger Plugs and Liners to Reduce Heating Costs
  • Grow Cold-tolerant Crops
  • Arrangement of Plants
  • Space Management
  • References