Evaluate the Structure
The second step in creating an efficient greenhouse is to evaluate the structure as a whole. This is especially important if you are focusing on climate control. Cool air or warm air has the potential to escape the greenhouse easily. If you are trying to maintain a certain temperature within the greenhouse, you should understand that the losses that you experience will vary depending upon the covering of the structure, as well as the age of the unit. If you are interested in heating the structure efficiently, you should consider using a covering composed of double polyethylene – which has the potential to reduce your heating costs by up to 50%. If you operate a glass greenhouse, you should consider retrofitting the structure with a double layer of polyethylene – which could reduce costs up to 60%.
Eliminate Air Leaks
In order to ensure that your greenhouse is running optimally in the area of efficiency, it is imperative that you work to eliminate any and all air leaks associated with the structure. The main place that you should start is the door or doors of the structure. It is best to utilize a special door closing unit or even to install springs on the doors so that air does not escape the unit. You should also place weather stripping around the openings of the unit – such as the doors, windows and vent units. The stripping should also be placed around openings that are near fans. If you find holes in the siding or foundation of your greenhouse, these should be repaired immediately.
Double the Covering
If you want to enhance the efficiency of your greenhouse, you should focus on doubling the covering of the structure. One of the most effective and least expensive methods of doing this is to line the inside walls of the structure with bubble wrap. This provides what is referred to as a “Thermopane Effect” within the unit – which enhances the insulation within the building. If you have an older structure, simply throw a double layer of plastic over the unit so that infiltration is reduced and the loss of heat is reduced by up to 50%.
Implement a Conserving Curtain
If you want an efficient greenhouse, you should consider implementing a conserving thermal curtain. These products will produce savings anywhere from 20% to 50%. If the cost of the curtain averages around $2.50 for each square foot, you will start to experience payback within a period of two years. If it costs less, you will experience payback sooner.
Install Insulation at the Foundation
In order to reduce the efficiency of your greenhouse, you should take the time to insulate the foundation of the unit. It is best to use board that is constructed of polyurethane or of polystyrene. The board should have a thickness of one to two inches and should be placed approximately eighteen inches beneath the ground so that it assists in reducing loss of heat. By doing this, the soil that is located on the region near the sides of the structure will increase up to a total of ten degrees in the winter months.
Install Insulation at the Heat Pipes
If you are interested in increasing the amount of heat that is contained within your greenhouse, you should insulate the area behind your heating pipes. However, it is best to use building paper that has an aluminum face as this will assist in radiating the heat from the pipes back into the cultivation region of your greenhouse.
Consider the Location of Your Structure
In order to reduce the energy consumption of your greenhouse, you should place the structure in an area that is surrounded by trees and/or other types of structures. A lot of heat loss that occurs with growth structures is a result of the wind that the unit is subjected to over time. If you choose to place the building in an area that is sheltered, it is important to ensure that the building still receives the right amount of light so that the crops will continue to grow appropriately.
Place Windbreaks Around the Unit
The next step to optimizing the energy efficiency of a greenhouse is to place windbreaks on the north side of the building, as well as the northwest side of the structure. You could place multiple conifer trees or even a snow fence composed of plastic in these regions. This will reduce the amount of heat that is lost due to wind exposure.