Increasing Energy Efficiency in the Greenhouse

September 5, 2014 By Karen Henry

greenhouse-energy-manageTo help gardening businesses reduce their energy use and save money—regardless of the season—Michigan State University Extension outlined some common energy efficiency practices and technologies that can be used in the greenhouse.

Heaters that are 93–95 percent efficient are now available, and installing one of these can save a gardening business up to 45 percent on energy costs, depending on the age and efficiency of the heaters being replaced. MSU Extension cautions, however, that heaters must be maintained to make sure they are operating at maximum efficiency and not emitting any organic compounds that could induce flower drop or bleaching of the upper foliage of plants.

Covering a greenhouse with polyethylene film treated to block infrared radiation can increase energy savings. Blocking infrared radiation reduces ventilation in the summer and helps reduce heat loss at night in the winter.

Gardening businesses can save as much as 30 percent by installing energy curtains. These products can be used to retain heat closer to the crop, reduce heat radiation, and provide shade to crops on extremely hot days.

Replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps can help reduce energy used for lighting by about 75 percent. MSU extension recommends replacing incandescent lamps in areas of the greenhouse that are not used for photoperiodic lighting. Where photoperiodic lighting is required, replace every other incandescent lamp with a CFL so flowering is not delayed. Light-emitting diode (LED) flowering lamps are also commercially available.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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