- Resources from eXtension Farm Energy
- Strategies and Checklists
- Construction and Comprehensive Greenhouse Guides
- High Tunnels
- Geothermal Heating
- Greenhouse Efficiency and Conservation Case Studies
- Miscellaneous Resources related to Greenhouse Energy
- Contributors to this Article
Greenhouses do their job most successfully using designs and siting for energy efficiency and maximum light transmission. Greenhouses must optimize crop growth and energy use by allowing sunlight in during the day, retaining as much heat as possible during cold weather, and providing sufficient ventilation to avoid excessive interior temperature and humidity.
Where possible, greenhouse construction materials with the highest insulation values should be used. Proper glazing material decreases energy loss while still allowing the natural spectrum of light inside to facilitate the healthy growth of the plants within. When heating greenhouses, some fuels have a higher heat value than others and some heating units have a greater efficiency.
Find these topics and many other related Farm Energy media resources at the Farm Energy Media archive.
A Greenhouse Energy Conservation Checklist has been developed to help you review a greenhouse operation and identify areas where energy consumption can be reduced.There are many aspects of a greenhouse operation that should be considered in order to optimize the efficiency of a greenhouse. Resources from eXtension Farm Energy include:
- Combat Higher Fuel Prices with Efficient Heating Systems
- Greenhouse Ventilation
- High Tunnels – Low Cost Seasonal Growing Space
- Natural Ventilation in High Tunnels
- Horizontal Air Flow is Best for Greenhouse Air Circulation
- Insulation Know-How
- Selecting and Maintaining Greenhouse Thermostats
- Step Controllers Optimize Greenhouse Energy Use
- Fuels and Alternate Heat Sources for Commercial Greenhouses
Strategies and Checklists
- Greenhouse Energy Conservation Checklist by John Bartok, Univ. of Connecticut agricultural engineer emeritus. A brief but comprehensive summary of steps growers can take to reduce greenhouse energy use.
- Top 10 Things a Greenhouse Grower Can Do To Improve Energy Efficiency Penn State University fact sheet. (2010)
- Greenhouse Energy Cost Reduction Strategies. PDF files compiled on Michigan State University Website from various sources.
Construction and Comprehensive Greenhouse Guides
- Virtual Grower, from USDA, is a decision support tool for greenhouse growers. Using this downloaded software, you can “virtually” build a greenhouse with a variety of materials for roofs and sidewalls, design the greenhouse style, schedule temperature set points throughout the year, and predict heating costs for over 230 sites within the US. Different heating and scheduling scenarios can be predicted with few inputs.
- Greenhouse Engineering. Available from NRAES: Natural Resource, Agricultural and Engineering Service for $30. This 212 page printed manual, NRAES-33, contains current information needed to plan, construct, and control the commercial greenhouse. Describes various structures, methods of materials handling, the greenhouse environment, and energy conservation. Includes conversion tables, worksheets for performing calculations, and sources of greenhouse construction materials and contractors. (1994)
- High Tunnel Presentations and Publications. Penn State Center for Plasticulture. Research, crop specific articles, images, high tunnel construction, etc.
- Solar Greenhouses by Barbara Bellows, updated by K. Adam, NCAT Agriculture Specialists. ATTRA Publication #IP142, 2008. Discussion of basic principles of solar greenhouse design, and construction options. Books, articles and Web sites, and computer software relevant to solar greenhouse design are all provided in a resource list.
- High Tunnels and Other Season Extension Techniques – a topic room from SARE (USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) provides a wealth of information
- Resources from eOrganic:
- Construction of High Tunnels: Resources for Organic Farmers
- Introduction to High Tunnels
- High Tunnel Materials
- High Tunnel Production and Low Cost Tunnel Construction Webinar
- High Tunnels on Organic Vegetable Farms: Case Studies
- Incorporating High Tunnels into a Diversified Organic Vegetable Farm in Oregon: Case Study of Gathering Together Farm
- Introduction to Season Extension in Organic Vegetable Production Systems
- Low Cost High Tunnel Construction
- Organic Vegetable Production: Farm Case Studies, Systems Descriptions, and Farmer Interviews
- Siting High Tunnels
- hightunnels.org – USDA-sponsored project that is testing and promoting high tunnel systems in the Central Great Plains. For growers and educators; a one-stop source of information on all aspects of high tunnel construction and use.
- High Tunnel System Initiative – USDA-NRCS EQIP financial assistance program provides funding for high tunnels and many supporting practices.
- Crop Production in High Tunnels
- Geothermal Greenhouse Information Package. Oregon Institute of Technology, 2008.
Miscellaneous Resources related to Greenhouse Energy
- Dealing with the High Cost of Energy for Greenhouse Operations Fact sheet by Joyce G. Latimer, Extension Specialist, Greenhouse Crops, Virginia Tech. 2001.
- Energy Cost Comparison Charts. Penn State Cooperative Extension. This Energy Calculator is a user-friendly decision aid for easy comparison of the heating values available from any two energy sources.
- Greenhouse Condensation Control, Improving Air Circulation. Ohio State University fact sheet AEX-803-00.
Contributors to this Article
- John Bartok, Jr., Agricultural Engineer, University of Connecticut
- Vern Grubinger, Professor, University of Vermont Extension