7 Principles of an Eco-rich and Year Round Solar Greenhouse
A solar greenhouse uses the sun for growing and all other heating needs. Solar greenhouses can produce warm environments using only sun’s energy, energy-efficient design and natural materials. Therefore, it is possible to grow fruits and vegetables year-round using less water and energy.
When building a solar greenhouse, follow these seven principles to create your eco-rich oasis.
1. Orient the Greenhouse Toward the South
The sun is a source of light and heat in the greenhouse, so it is essential for it to be oriented toward the sun to get excellent growing results. It is necessary to capture enough sun’s energy to heat greenhouse for year-round growing, especially in cold climates.
2. Insulate the North
Apart from capturing enough of the sun’s energy, trapping that energy inside the solar greenhouse to keep enough heat during cold periods is even more important. Every surface that is not necessary for collecting the light should be insulated, which means that you should insulate the north wall entirely. You can also insulate parts of west and east sidewalls, depending on your greenhouse location.
3. Insulate Underground
Insulating the ground is something most people overlook when attempting to trap the heat inside. A greenhouse will lose the heat to the ground when temperatures drop. Having an insulating barrier will prevent the freezing temps from entering through the floor.
4. Light and Heat Increase in the Winter
The design of a solar greenhouse works on a basis of controlling heat and light in a strategic way. So, you need to maximize light during the winter and reduce it during the summer, when it produces too much heat.
5. Light and Heat Reduction in the Summer
There is too much light in the summer because days are longer, and that creates too much heat. The plants will be healthier if you put a light-diffusing glazing on the roof.
6. Use Thermal Mass
What is thermal mass? It is a material intended for storing large amounts of thermal energy. Some materials are able to store more energy than others, like water. Water is the most common thermal mass material in greenhouses because it stores four times as much heat as air.
7. Increase Natural Ventilation
Year-round natural ventilation helps the greenhouse to cool. Moving air keeps plants healthy and decreases disease and insect issues. Placing vents in the right places will do the job. Intake vents should be placed lower and exhaust vents somewhere higher. Cooler air from outside will be drawn in by intake vent. Warmer air will rise and be exhausted out. You do not need additional energy to get airflow.
Photo source: Flickr.com
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