Greenhouses provide ideal conditions for plants to flourish. Their ample lighting helps promote photosynthesis – the process by which plants produce food from sunlight.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that greenhouses are designed to trap heat inside, meaning they can become extremely hot on very warm days. Luckily, there are solutions available to address this issue.
Growers looking to maximize profits while simultaneously lessening pressure on natural resources must maximize greenhouse efficiency in order to meet both ends. From high-value crops to niche products, greenhouses provide climate control necessary for optimizing crop yields – and with energy prices on the rise now is an opportune moment to invest in energy-saving technologies that can both boost production while simultaneously cutting costs.
One of the largest energy wasters in greenhouses is heat loss. One simple way to minimize it is installing insulation boards along the north wall where it meets the roof or lower section of sidewall. This can save approximately five percent in typical Pennsylvania conditions and cut heating energy usage by about five percent.
Reduce energy use further by switching to low-wattage bulbs for lighting – these can cut energy usage in half without diminishing light levels in your greenhouse, and adding reflectors can further increase how much light reaches plants.
Air leaks are another key source of energy loss in greenhouses. Insulation such as DryGair may help reduce heat leakage and consequently energy costs by covering roof or wall areas with insulation material such as DryGair. An alternative way to manage costs would be adjusting heating set points according to outdoor temperature and solar radiation – this way the target average daily temperature can still be met without disrupting flowering and development of plants.
Maintaining a wide dead band on environmental control computer settings can also help limit energy costs. A wide dead band ensures that temperatures do not fluctuate between overheating and venting, thus eliminating unnecessary cycling of temperatures.
Controlling temperatures and managing humidity in your greenhouse are vitally important to its success, and by using proper monitoring equipment you can create ideal conditions for your crops to metabolize, grow, produce fruit and flourish.
Climate controllers differ from thermostats by monitoring and adjusting your heating or cooling system in stages to avoid dramatic temperature shifts while saving energy. By doing so, climate controllers allow you to avoid large temperature swings and save both energy and money by keeping temperatures within their setpoint limits and saving energy at the same time.
Climate control systems offer more energy-efficiency while providing additional automation and safety features than traditional thermostats, making them much simpler to use on-the-go. If your EC levels are high at the source but low within your greenhouse, for instance, remote settings of increased flow rates could correct this issue remotely.
Climate control systems allow you to keep an eye on outside weather conditions and determine whether the greenhouse needs heating or cooling. If it’s very warm outside, for instance, you could program the controller to turn on GAHT (ground to air heat transfer), with its accompanying fan turning on as necessary to help maintain constant temperatures. Likewise, for cold weather environments it will activate both fans simultaneously to help regulate temperatures more evenly and maintain consistent temperatures.
Cooling a greenhouse can be achieved using various means, most commonly fans that pull cool air from outside into the greenhouse, providing an effective means of lowering temperatures without reducing yield. Installing roof and wall vents to increase airflow may also be useful as hot air rises through roof vents while fresh, cool air enters through wall vents – both can help lower greenhouse temperatures without reducing crop yield.
Safety is of utmost importance in Halls orangeries operations for obvious reasons. A safe environment ensures healthy plants and a seamless production process while also guaranteeing employee wellbeing and decreasing injury rates – two benefits which make a big difference to any company.
Greenhouse solutions involve many electrically powered devices, such as lighting systems, watering systems and temperature controls. Employing electrical safety features like GFCIs and circuit breakers to protect equipment against power surges that could otherwise result in fires or other forms of property damage is crucial; using smart technologies such as timers or sensor-controlled systems may further streamline operations while improving safety measures.
Proper food handling protocols should also be put into effect to ensure worker safety, such as making sure all employees wash their hands before and after touching produce. Establishing a handwashing station makes this practice simpler for employees to abide by.
At the same time, it’s also essential to utilize a comprehensive pest control plan in your greenhouse. Domesticated animals may harbor human pathogens; therefore they should be kept outside so they cannot contaminate produce with their pathogens.
Maintaining PPE standards among your greenhouse employees is another effective and straightforward approach to reducing contamination events in your operation. This should include providing each shift with clean gloves and shoes, and regularly cleaning and sanitizing tools between uses.
An insurance agent or broker who specializes in greenhouse operations will understand the operational risks involved, and can give insight into any insurance claims filed against similar businesses. Using this knowledge will enable you to create an effective risk management plan to minimize financial and reputational loss.
Greenhouse solutions enable growers to optimize their growing environment, leading to healthier plants and higher yields while simultaneously reducing labor costs and providing greater control over consistency and quality of crops being grown. There are several automation technologies that can be utilized depending on each greenhouse operation’s unique requirements.
Automation systems in greenhouses can assist in managing climate, lighting, nutrient application and irrigation operations as well as saving energy while providing proper airflow and humidity levels, monitoring soil health and monitoring plant growth. Some examples of greenhouse automation systems include:
Solar thermal systems can be easily integrated with greenhouse heating and cooling for increased energy efficiency and lower operating expenses. They can be used both passively (using solar collectors, mirrors or other devices) and actively (by installing mirrors, collectors or similar) for both solar water heating and passive heating of greenhouse plants.
Greenhouses offer great flexibility when it comes to crop cycle times and scaling capabilities, enabling any plant to be grown year-round in a wide range of climates with just the right materials and design.
Greenhouses can also be an efficient means of cultivating high-value crops that require special lighting and ventilation, producing up to six or ten times greater yield than crops grown outdoors.
With an expected global population of 10 billion by 2050, global food production demands will become even greater than before. To meet this growing need, more land and freshwater must be used efficiently – greenhouses can play an essential role in meeting this challenge while helping us make more use of available natural resources by offering year-round production that increases yields.
Greenhouse Solutions offer value added services that can assist your business, increase production and yield, reduce operating costs and cut operating costs. One such system is the Greenhouse Early Warning System (EWS). EWS uses Earth Observation data to monitor key greenhouse risks such as subsidence, algae blooms, energy leaks and climate control inefficiencies in real time so you can take preventive actions before they arise and save costs associated with remedial actions.
Greenhouse Solutions also adds value by employing geospatial technology to provide an enhanced understanding of greenhouse operation and performance, which helps identify any structural issues as well as increase efficiency and productivity. Drones or remotely operated vehicles collect information about the state of the greenhouse, its plants and the surrounding environment before this data is analyzed in order to recommend repairs as required.
Greenhouse Solutions also offer assistance in installing thermal and solar insulation, which are invaluable investments to significantly lower greenhouse heating fuel consumption. Savings typically range between 50-75% depending on growing temperature and layout; an average 30’x 100′ freestanding greenhouse could expect savings between 30-35%. In addition to fuel reduction, this type of insulation also helps decrease internal surface temperatures as well as prevent heat loss through walls or other components in the building structure.