7 Top Ways to Cool A Greenhouse Without Electricity

Cooling a Greenhouse without Electricity

7 Top Ways to Cool A Greenhouse without Electricity

7 Top Ways to Cool A Greenhouse Without Electricity

You want a greenhouse. You know it will build up a lot of heat during the day. Even on sunny days in the middle of the winter. You want to put it by your garden in a remote corner of your lot. Or maybe, on some land that you own that is undeveloped. What do you do? Fortunately, there are multiple options for cooling your greenhouse even when you don’t have electricity. Let’s take a look at the options.



1) Shade cloth –

Greenhouse Shade Cloth

Reflective Shade Cloth

This one is a no brainer. Just install a shade cloth over the top of your greenhouse. It has much the same effect as standing under a shade tree in the summer. The shaded area will be cooler. Shade cloths are available in a woven, knitted or reflective material. The woven material will ravel when cut and it is necessary to put tape  on the edges. Knitted shade cloth has more give than the woven and does not require taping, although we prefer to do this as you can then put grommets in the tape. You can run a bungee or cord through the grommets to attach the cover to your greenhouse. There is also a reflective cloth available which is much more efficient. They result in lower greenhouse temperatures and a more consistent environment. Shade percentages run from 50% to 70% for greenhouse use, maybe lower for plants will low light requirements.

2) Roof vents –

Greenhouse with open roof vent

Greenhouse with open roof vent

Chances are if you are purchasing a greenhouse kit, it will have roof vents. There are very few kits out there without roof vents, and if you are building your own greenhouse, this is a highly desirable feature. We all learned in high school that warm air rises. Have an opening such as the roof vent in the top of your greenhouse, and the hot air will exit. Manual roof vents are available, but the best way to take advantage of this feature is to have a solar powered opener on it. That way if you are not at the greenhouse every day, you will know that the vents are opening and closing at appropriate times. These solar powered openers are basically wax cylinders. They work on the principle of contraction and expansion. When they get warm they expand, pushing the vents open. When they get cool they contract, pulling the vents shut. These can be adjusted to a certain degree to open and shut at desired temperatures.

roof vent with solar opener in polyfilm greenhouse

There are also roof vents available that will go directly into a polyfilm greenhouse without additional framing. They have the solar powered openers. These vents can be retrofitted onsite to fit in a polycarbonate greenhouse.

 




3) Side vents in conjunction with roof vents –

Greenhouse with side vent

Greenhouse with side vent

If you place a side vent with a solar powered opener below your roof vents you will get even better ventilation in your greenhouse. We like to place these approximately 6″ from the bottom of the greenhouse. This will give you a chimney type effect drawing the air from the bottom to the top of the greenhouse. We also use the wax cylinders on these to keep things simple.

4) Roll up side curtains –

greenhouse roll up side curtains

greenhouse roll up side curtains

If you have a greenhouse with straight side walls you can install roll up curtains. Using these you can roll the greenhouse sides up during the hottest times of the year. These systems operate with a hand crank or can be automated. These come with a heavy duty 12 mil coated weave fabric. It is recommended to use a kneewall with these systems. That way your plants will have protection from the wind when the curtains are open. Also, if you are in a heavy snow area, this will keep the snow from laying up against your curtain.

5) Solar Powered Ventilation Package –

solar powered exhaust fan

solar powered exhaust fan

These operate on the same principle as a wired ventilation package. But, they are powered by a solar panel. The exhaust fan goes up high in the backwall of the greenhouse. The intake shutter(s) go down low on the opposite wall. The exhaust fans are wired to a thermostat. The manual intake shutters will open to allow fresh air into the greenhouse. The exhaust fan will draw this air through the greenhouse, cooling the air. No electricity is required, you are creating your own power.




6) Solar powered circulating fans –

12 inch solar powered greenhouse circulating fan

12 inch solar powered circulating fan for greenhouse

Circulation fans are essential to the healthy greenhouse. They will increase CO2 availability, an essential for plant growth. They help to reduce excessive moisture creating an environment which reduces disease and pests caused by humid environments. They also help strengthen the plant stems with the same motion as a mild breeze when the plants are grown outside. These are fans that run low and slow.

7) Misting Systems –

Misting systems may be used if you have water to your location. They will help to lower the heat in a greenhouse. These can be set up on a battery operated timer, so no electricity required. These cause a cooling effect by tiny water droplets evaporating.

In Conclusion

I have been fighting an uphill battle at times throughout the years. New greenhouse owners just do not understand the heat that will build up in a greenhouse during sunny days, even in the middle of winter. I have seen my ventilation package come on during a sunny 60 degree February day. And, I keep my thermostat set at 90 degrees. Quite a difference that you really would not expect unless you have experienced it. Proper ventilation is an essential item for your greenhouse. It will keep your plants healthy and happy. No more baked tomatoes on the vine. You will have to pick them and put them under the broiler in the kitchen  for that! These options discussed above provide you with the opportunity to supply adequate ventilation to your greenhouse even when they are in an area with no power available. So, no more excuses. Get out there and build yourself a greenhouse today. I will also be discussing heating your greenhouse without electricity when the season dictates. Good Growing!

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Advance Greenhouses Turns 15 on August 14, 2017

Greenhouse with Polycoolite glazing in the snow

Advance Greenhouses Personal Greenhouse

Yep, That is Tom and my greenhouse. We really do practice what we preach. We think everyone in America should own a greenhouse! This was a rare snow storm in SE Louisiana. I don’t think the neighbors could even believe that we were outside in this mess. Today I just wanted to take a minute to reflect on the beginning and growth of Advance Greenhouses. Fifteen years ago Tom and I were studying how to get on the internet. We knew the product we were interested in, as we had been selling and installing greenhouses for a while. Our first adventure with polycarbonate was in 1993. We got a book about 4 inches thick on how to set up a website and dove into it. What in the world language were those people using? Something I had never heard of before. I am sure we fought and cussed our way through it and came up with what was an absolutely horrible website. But, people started to find us. We also did a lot of local garden shows to put the word out. Fifteen years later, here we are. Through the years we have had the pleasure of speaking and working with many like minded people. We love flowers, but we also love fresh food that we have grown for ourselves. Our greenhouse has been multi faceted. We have stored my cherished hibiscus plants, started seeds for the garden, started annuals and perennials for the flower gardens and even grown some food hydroponically in our greenhouse. As I tell people, it is a learning curve to figure out exactly what will work in your greenhouse. There are some hard, fast rules, but we are all growing different plants under different circumstances. We all have to do a little bit of experimenting to figure out what works exactly for us. In closing, we are running some sales this month as a customer appreciation (also an appreciation for what we have thanks to all of you). Visit our website to see the specials. Our business is very personal and very rewarding for both of us. Thank You! Tammy and Tom

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Polycarbonate Sheets with 100% Light Diffusion

Today’s edition of Polycarbonate Glazing Tips addresses Lexan Softlite and Polygal Polymatte. Both of these sheets have 100% light diffusion. This is an excellent choice for commercial growers or homeowners looking for healthier plants, increased yields and faster growing times. The sheets will spread the light out so it is evenly distributed to all parts of the plant, even under the canopy. Selections are available in corrugated, 8mm and 16mm sheets.

 

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Are Gardeners The Original Recyclers?

Recycling Garden Flats

Let’s Recycle Our Garden Plastics

Let’s face it. Around here nothing gets thrown out until it is way past its prime. We use flats over and over again, even after they are broken. Pots, they never get thrown out. We clean them good and bleach them and reuse. But, everything must ultimately come to the end of its usability. I am sure most of us do not even think about recycling our garden pots, plastic, etc. This article from Michigan State University helps us to explore this option. I must say that I do disagree with the author on one point. They stated that some greenhouse plastic and polycarbonate may not be recyclable. In fact, I have always been taught that all greenhouse plastic and polycarbonate are 100% recyclable. Have any doubts? Check with your local company before carrying your materials in.

Go green: Which horticultural plastics can be recycled and where?

By now, greenhouse operations have gleaned the production areas of spring and early summer plant material. I have come across some operations that have deposited used and even un-used containers, flats or carrier trays in large dumpsters for recycling (Photo 1). At each operation, I have been asked about proper disposal of these horticultural plastics and the answer is easy— recycle (Photo 2)!

In other instances, I have come across garden-retail centers that accept and collect used containers from consumers (Photo 3). Regardless of where used plug or liner trays, containers or carrier trays come from, there is a possibility these horticultural plastics can be recycled.

 

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