Greenhouse Energy Efficiency

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This curriculum module on Greenhouse Energy Efficiency reviews the heat loss calculations needed to determine the (maximum) capacity of a greenhouse heating system. Common greenhouse heating systems are discussed. Natural and mechanical ventilation systems for greenhouses are presented and design parameters provided so that energy consumption by the ventilation system can be determined. Review of several alternative energy sources and systems suitable for greenhouse production. Finally, energy savings strategies are provided along with a calculation tool (Virtual Grower) that can be used to predict energy consumption and costs.

Link to all of the Northeast Farm Energy IQ Curriculum, developed by Extension specialists from Penn State, Rutgers and University of Vermont.

This is part of the Farm Energy Efficiency Curriculum Series: 

Farm Energy Efficiency Principles | Energy Audits | EE for Dairy Farms | EE for Greenhouses | EE for Fruit Production | EE for Field Crop Production | EE for Direct Market Farms

This module includes:


  • Educational Materials for educators, service providers, and farmers:
    • Virtual Grower – Calculation tool and manual available online from USDA-ARS
    • 1. E-3160.pdf – Greenhouse Energy Conservation Strategies. 2011. Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Bulletin
    • 2. A3907-01.pdf – Reducing Greenhouse Energy Consumption – An Overview. 2011. University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Publication
    • 3. A3907-02.pdf – Greenhouse Unit Heaters: Types, Placement and Efficiency. 2011. University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Publication
    • 4. A3907-03.pdf – Using Curtains to Reduce Greenhouse Heating and Cooling Costs. 2011. University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Publication
    • 5. A3907-04.pdf– Biomass Energy for Heating Greenhouses. 2011. University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Publication
    • 6. A3907-05.pdf– Biomass Heating in Greenhouses: Case Studies. 2011. University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Publication
    • 7. Outdoor_Design_Conditions_508.pdf– Residential Load Calculations, Outdoor Design Conditions. 2011. Air Conditioning Contractors of America.
    • 8. Greenhouse Energy Conservation Checklist.pdf– Greenhouse Energy Conservation Checklist/Audit. 2014 version.
    • 9. On-Farm Heating with Biomass Case Study (VT).pdf– On-farm Heating with Biomass, Case Study: River Berry Farm. University of Vermont Cooperative Extension.
    • 10. Additional web sites.pdf


Module Author: Dr. A.J. Both was appointed as Extension Specialist in Controlled Environment Engineering at Rutgers University in January 2000. Prior to joining Rutgers University, he was a student, Post Doc and research associate at Cornell University. He received his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in Agricultural and Biological Engineering in 1995. He received his M.S. and B.S. degrees from the Agricultural University in Wageningen, the Netherlands, majoring in Agricultural Engineering. Dr. Both’s research focuses on controlled environment agriculture and includes engineering and crop production projects in growth chambers, greenhouses and high tunnels. His research interests include greenhouse environment control, hydroponic vegetable production, supplemental lighting, and energy systems.


If you wish to adapt these curriculum materials for your own educational purposes, please contact the Module Author for permission and files:

A.J. Both
Rutgers University
Department of Environmental Sciences
14 College Farm Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 932-9534