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) …

Northeast Farm Energy IQ CURRICULUM

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Farm Energy IQ provides a Northeast regional “train the trainer” program to build the capacity and confidence of Ag Service Providers to help farmers enhance operational sustainability in the context of the farm economy and ecosystem of the region.

NE Farm Energy IQ Toolkit for each topic area includes:

  • Module Overview with instructions for presentations to Ag Service Providers (ASP) and Farmers
  • “Train the Trainer” Presentation
  • Farmer Presentation
  • Educational Materials for educators, service providers, and

Step Controllers Optimize Greenhouse Energy Use

This is a four-step controller with a solar sensor shield and shielded shielded cable, suitable for greenhouse use.

A step controller is an advanced electronic device that controls conditions in a greenhouse better than a mechanical thermostat and can save money in the long run. It uses a solid-state integrated circuit to monitor environmental data in the greenhouse and create output signals that activate equipment based on a set of internal programmed instructions. The microprocessor is a simple, low-cost device …

Root Zone Heating Systems for Greenhouses

Root zone heating is an effective option for greenhouses that provides heat directly to the growing media rather than heating the air of the greenhouse. This approach provides a triple benefit for greenhouse growers: faster production, higher quality crops and energy savings. If the root zone temperature is maintained at the optimum, air temperature in the greenhouse can be lowered 5 to 10 degrees F., reducing heat loss to the outside and therefore, reducing energy consumption. This is possible because …

Selecting and Maintaining Greenhouse Thermostats

How would you like to reduce your annual energy costs $100 to $200 for a simple 15-minute maintenance procedure in your greenhouse? This is the potential fuel savings from properly heating a greenhouse by improving the accuracy of a heating thermostat. There are few minimum labor tasks that will give this large a return.

The above savings is based on a 30-foot-by-100-foot double covered greenhouse where the average winter temperature is 25 degrees F. and the fuel costs are $15…

Additional Resources for Greenhouse Energy Conservation and Efficiency



Play button  Find these topics and many other related Farm Energy media resources at the Farm Energy Media archive.


This greenhouse has a double layer covering, horizontal air flow fans, perimeter insulation, an electronic environmental controller, and a high efficiency furnace that all contribute to energy efficiency and conservation. Photo: Vern

Greenhouse Ventilation

Good temperature control is vital for a productive high tunnel greenhouse, and this in turn means that the ventilation system needs to be effective and efficient. Regardless of whether a grower uses fans or “natural ventilation,” it is important to make sure that the system is designed properly and working well. Here are a few pointers that will help you improve your system.

Natural Ventilation

The concept of cooling a greenhouse with thermal buoyancy and wind goes back to the …

Wood Heat for Greenhouses

Outdoor wood boilers are increasingly subject to state and local and regulations aimed at minimizing air pollution. Photo courtesy of Vern Grubinger



Wood is an attractive alternative fuel for greenhouse heating – it is renewable, locally produced, and usually less expensive than other fuels. While wood is not for everyone, an increasing number of growers are turning to it as an economical heating alternative for their facilities. Fuel wood, waste wood and biomass are all potential sources of heat …

Fuels and Alternate Heat Sources for Commercial Greenhouses

corn boiler
Corn furnace with fuel. Photo by Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont Extension, Creative Commons

Which fuel is best for heating a greenhouse? The right answer depends on price, convenience, and availability. Some fuels have more “heat per dollar” and some heating units have a greater efficiency. Others are especially easy to use. All of these factors need to be considered when deciding what fuel to use. The most common fuels for greenhouse heating are natural gas, propane, and fuel oil, …

Greenhouse Efficiency and Conservation Case Studies

Case studies of greenhouse growers and other farmers using alternative energy for heating in greenhouses and running equipment have been posted by UVM Extension at: On-Farm Energy Case Studies.

The case studies describe systems that use biodiesel, coal, log wood, shell corn, waste vegetable oil, waste wood chips,and wood pellets to heat greenhouses.

In addition, there are links to case studies of on-farm biodiesel production.



image:Wood_boiler_and_greenhouses.JPG image:Greenhouse_corn__boiler.JPG