Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar energy is a promising alternative energy that seems almost certain to be used increasingly nowadays. Described as the sun’s rays heating the earth’s surface, it involves the process of trapping the sun’s energy, storing it, and using it when it’s needed — at night and on cloudy days, for example.

Once a system has been set up, solar heating is an economical form of power that makes use of a free energy source, the sun. Ideas for two possible systems are outlined below.

The first method entails locating heat collecting panels, which contain water, on the roof of your greenhouse. The collector panels, usually painted black for maximum absorbing power, trap radiant heat and transmit it to water in tubes. During the day, pumps slowly circulate water from a storage tank, through the tubes, and back to the tank, where the energy is stored as hot water.

In the greenhouse, pumps circulate hot water through thin-walled tubes located just under the benches. Heat given off by the water in the tubes warms the greenhouse. During warm weather months, you’d have to run the pumps only at night. In cold climates you would need an auxiliary heating system to keep temperature levels up.

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

The other idea for trapping the sun’s energy is much simpler. It uses a wall made of rock, brick, or some other absorbent material within your greenhouse to absorb solar heat. A lean-to is the best greenhouse shape for this purpose; in this case it would lean against the heat storage wall.

Build the absorbing wall the height of your greenhouse with the broad side facing south, if possible. Paint the wall black for maximum heat absorption. During the day the wall absorbs solar radiation as the sunlight comes in through the greenhouse roof and walls. At night, the wall radiates its absorbed heat and keeps the greenhouse warm. Putting an insulation cover over the greenhouse on cold nights is very helpful; otherwise the glass will conduct some of the stored heat from the greenhouse back to the atmosphere.

In both cases — as with any greenhouse — a ventilating system will be necessary to remove excess heat accumulated during hot days. The stored energy from the collecting-panel system could be used to run the cooling devices and open vents. In this way you make use of the energy when a maximum amount is available — during the warm summer months.

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

:::Tips:::

Always have an extra heater (electric or gas) available for emergencies; something could go wrong with your solar system or the weather might be heavily overcast for several days.

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

Solar Heated Greenhouse

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