Tag Archives: greenhouse ventilation

How to Improve Commercial Greenhouse Operations

Optimize Commercial Greenhouse Operations Gothic Arch GreenhouseThe greenhouse industry in the United States has steadily grown—and is expected to reach $4 billion in sales by 2020. The increased demand for production is challenged by limited resources, namely labor, land and water.

With a greenhouse operation, commercial growers can manage and optimize this supply and demand dilemma with the help of automation, conservation and efficiency.

For commercial growers to improve upon and streamline their operations, they need to be especially mindful of the following:

Energy Efficiency: Help improve the energy efficiency of your commercial greenhouse simply by minimizing leaks to the structure. That means: weatherstripping doors, windows and ventilation openings; sealing the foundation—a major source of air loss; and ensuring windows and doors close and fit properly. Additionally, exhaust devices should be shut off when not in use, and automated device openings should be adjusted and lubricated.

Ventilation: Creating an ideal environment starts with proper greenhouse ventilation. Smaller greenhouses can get adequate ventilation with passive means, but larger commercial operations depend on mechanical systems to help regulate temperature and humidity. Bigger structures face a challenge in ridding excess water, which can mean higher humidity. To best address this challenge, commercial greenhouse combine dehumidifiers and fans to pull excess moisture out and replace it with cooler, drier air.

Lighting: Commercial growers should be aware that the lighting options they use meet the needs of their plants at every stage. For example, younger plants thrive under higher intensity light, which creates greater photosynthesis. Plants that don’t require full intensity light can provide an energy-saving advantage by reducing the use of artificial light and substituting inefficient incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights.

Sustainability: Moving commercial crop production indoors is one way to reduce an operation’s environmental footprint. By giving growers more control over the conditions inside, they can maximize what Mother Nature is providing—natural light and heat, for example. Hydroponic gardening is another way to reduce soil use and water for the same sustainable effect.

Maintenance: Due to their size, commercial greenhouse operations rely more heavily on mechanical equipment, which requires routine maintenance and repair. Proper and regular upkeep of pumps, heaters, fans and ventilation systems can not only extend their life span, but also improve the efficiency of the operation.

For the best equipment for your commercial greenhouse, call us at 1-800-531-4769 or visit us at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com today!

What to Consider With Greenhouse Ventilation

Greenhouses are designed to trap heat, so learning to properly manage temperature inside helps create the ideal environment you want.

Ventilation is key in this process, specifically understanding the system that works best for you and how to most efficiently set it up.

Two types of greenhouse ventilation systems are available: natural and mechanical. Both work by using cold, dense air to push warmer air up and out of a building.

Mechanical systems consist of fans and louvers to press hot air out and pull cool air in. Natural systems simply employ a series of roof and sidewall vents to accomplish the same thing.

Both types of systems are comparable in terms of initial cost and installation. Natural ventilation systems are more energy efficient and cost-effective over the long term, but they will require more of an investment of your time because they aren’t electric.

Most growers take cost into consideration when selecting a ventilation system for their greenhouse. It’s important to evaluate the size of the greenhouse compared to the cost to operate it.

For example, a mechanical system would be too costly for a small greenhouse, less than 40 square feet. And for a larger structure, more than 100 square feet, a mechanical system wouldn’t have the power to help maintain optimal temperature at both ends.

Take into account the seasons where you are located. During winters cold enough to bring snow, automated systems are ideal when you can open vents due to ground cover build-up. But in really hot summers, you also don’t want to run fans when natural ventilation will do.

With natural systems, you are not simply at the mercy of the seasons. There are extra steps you can take to help reduce excess heat. One of the best ways to do that is by covering your greenhouse with shade cloth, which will significantly reduce temperatures.

If you are looking to install a mechanical system, do evaluate the structure frame to determine if it can support a fan. Ideally, exhaust fans are installed near the roof or at the highest point possible. The size of the fan you will need will be dependent on the size of your greenhouse.

Have questions about which ventilation system is right for you? Call us at 1-800-531-4769, and one of our friendly representatives will help you select what you need! You can also check out selection of ventilation equipment at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com any time

Most Energy-Efficient Ways to Cool a Greenhouse in Summer

 

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A greenhouse’s ability to trap heat makes it ideal for providing necessary warmth to plants in cooler winter months.

But managing that heat in the warmer summer months can present a challenge for the grower.

That’s why understanding and employing proper greenhouse cooling methods is necessary to ensuring your continued gardening success throughout the year.

As warmer temperatures start to arrive where you are, keep these cooling techniques in mind so your greenhouse doesn’t overheat—and your plants don’t suffer!

Shadecloth. An easily added option that works well in all climates, shadecloth cools by keeping heat out of the greenhouse. It’s recommended that you use a light meter to determine what your light levels are, then selecting an appropriate shading factor for optimal efficiency. For best results, install the shadecloth on the outside of your greenhouse to prevent additional heat from entering the structure.

Ventilation. Active (mechanical) or passive (natural) ventilation methods are a low-cost and low-maintenance option for cooling greenhouses, but they may need to be paired with another option in an extremely hot climate. Whether your system involves vents and/or fans, use cooler outdoor temperatures to your advantage whenever possible to maximize their efficiency. Even in very hot climates, this may only happen at night.

Evaporation. Misters, wet walls and evaporative cooling systems help bring temperatures down as vaporized water absorbs heat from the air. Commonly found in large commercial operations, evaporative cooling can work on a smaller scale in residential greenhouses. These systems are ideal in dry climates, but technology is at work to develop wet wall options for humid environments.

Not sure which cooling method will work for you? Or do you need some advice to create a custom system? Call us at 1-800-531-4769 and let our friendly representatives help you today! You can visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com for any greenhouse gardening needs.

Best Ways to Keep Your Greenhouse Cool in Summer

If you’ve already invested in a greenhouse, then odds are you did, like most hobbyists and commercial growers, to be able to control the environment inside for your plants’ sake. Shade_Heat_Retention_002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though temperature is one of the variables greenhouse gardeners try to manage, the more intense summer heat can certainly make it a challenge—especially depending on your local climate.

Despite the rising temps outside, it is possible for you to cool down your greenhouse inside to preserve your plants’ health, as well as your gardening efforts.

For starters, you’ll want to install a min/max thermometer, which will let you know how hot it is really getting inside your greenhouse. Then you can use some of these options below to help cool it off before it reaches damaging temperatures inside.

Shading: Install shade cloth or shade paints to help filter the sunlight’s strength. Opt for the least amount of shading necessary, as your plants still need light to reach their full growth potential. How much shading you will need will be determined by your local climate, your greenhouse design and the light requirements of your plants.

Ventilation: Roof or side vents, exhaust fans and even simply opening the greenhouse door can provide much-needed air circulation in the warmer summer months to help reduce heat build-up. There are multiple options, ranging from passive (opening roof vents to allow hotter air to escape) to mechanical (automated vent openers) that can help control the level of ventilation needed.

Misters: Shading and ventilation will help control the heat in your greenhouse, but the evaporation of moisture inside is what will help keep it cool. Adding a misting system is one way to do this. Using high-pressure water delivery, misters emit very fine water particles, and as they evaporate, the temperature is reduced. Using fans with a mister system can also increase the evaporation.

Damping Down: Another option similar to misting is keeping plants cool in really high heat by using a technique called damping down, which raises the humidity so plants can deal with the higher temperatures. To do this, you would wet hard surfaces within the greenhouses, such as paths and staging. As the water evaporates, moisture levels are increased, which also helps keep pests at bay.  

Evaporative Coolers: For dry climates where humidity is below 50 percent, using an evaporative cooler is an option. Most common are fan-and-pad cooling systems, which draw warm air through the pads from the outside by exhaust fans. The pads are constantly kept wet, and the process of water moving from a liquid to a gaseous state helps it absorb a relatively high amount of heat.

Have questions about which option is best for your climate or your greenhouse? Call us today toll-free at 1-800-531-4769 to talk with one of our representatives or visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com help your greenhouse beat the heat this summer!

Understanding Greenhouse Ventilation

Ensuring proper ventilation in your greenhouse is one of the most important concerns you’ll have since adequate and uniform air circulation is crucial to the success of your plants.

Ventilation is a primary concern because without it the greenhouse can quickly become an20141016_162428 oven in which no plant can survive.

When a greenhouse is properly ventilated, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and oxygen in the environment are consistent. That not only creates space for plants to flourish, but also air circulation can help in the pollination of plants, such as vegetables and ornamental plants, that are pollinated through the wind.

Fortunately, multiple ventilation supplies are available to help greenhouse owners manage their growing climates and extend their gardening seasons.

Here are some of the most common options and how they work:

Vents: These are the most common form of ventilation, and their placement can effectively and naturally draw air throughout the greenhouse. Placement of the vents in the roof pulls warm, moist air up and out, leaving cooler air at floor level. Opting for natural ventilation helps reduce energy costs, as fan ventilation can use an estimated 0.5 to 1 kilowatt hour per square foot per year. Taller structures are best suited for roof ventilation; lower-profile greenhouses will require forced cooling to get the same results.

Exhaust Fans and Shutters: Placed on opposite ends of the greenhouse, these two components work together to force outside air into the building. Exhaust fans create the pressure difference and cause air to flow. Fresh air comes through shutters placed at the opposite end, and the fans work to distribute it evenly throughout. As the air travels through the greenhouse is absorbs heat and is warmed gradually. Then as the fans exhaust the heated air, a slight vacuum is created, which draws in cooler outside air through louvers, open doors and cracks.

Circulation Fans: One of the most important accessories for a greenhouse, circulation fans are often used to move air throughout passively ventilated structures where venting is minimal. Aside from improving ventilation, circulation fans have multiple benefits. They help promote healthy plant growth by preventing stagnant air, which can cause fungus and disease to develop. Because they keep the air moving, there are no “hot” or “cold” spots; the temperature is uniform. They do carry an ongoing operational cost, and they should be cleaned and maintained to ensure they are properly functioning.

Evaporative Coolers: A powerful, compact and affordable ventilation option, evaporative coolers use the process of evaporating water to convert hot air into cooler temperatures. They work as outside air passes over water-saturated pads at one end of the greenhouse, which causes water to evaporate. Open windows and vents at the opposite end draw air in and let warm air escape. The temperature drops as the water evaporates and energy is lost from the air. This system works best in dry climates, but is a viable option for humid, tropical climates as well.

Greenhouse ventilation is important! If you have questions about what solution you should choose, call us today toll-free at 1-800-531-4769 to talk with one of our representatives or visit our website at www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com to learn more.