Tagged: summer climate control

burlap greenhouse shades

DIY Greenhouse Shades

Pretty Burlap Greenhouse Shades

Post author: Heidi at mysweetcottage.com

 

I still love the Sunglo greenhouse that my husband, Chris, assembled last fall.

Burlap greenhouse shades

Greenhouse in December, 2014, shortly after assembly of the exterior.

And, since I’m new to greenhouse gardening in general, I’m still learning new things about it.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Because of the excellent south-facing location we chose for the greenhouse and the early spring we’ve been having this year, the fan in the greenhouse has been working overtime.  The plants and seeds I started inside have been getting a little too much of some good things – namely heat and sun.

My darling greenhouse is just doing what it’s supposed to do, and it came with a shade cloth for the exterior that we realized we should install pronto for just these kinds of conditions.

A Lighter Shade of . . . Shade

Maybe I was just being naïve, but it seemed to me to be a little early in the year to install the shade cloth.  In the Pacific Northwest, the weather can turn on a dime, and we might still be faced with days of clouds, rain, and general gloominess.

So I started thinking about ways to get some light-duty shade.  Something I could install on the inside of the greenhouse that would allow filtered light and bring the temperature down just a few degrees.

At the fabric store, I ran across that good old standby, burlap.  And burlap is sometimes used in orchards and plantations to shade crops but still provide filtered light.  Perfect.

I chose this soft, pretty burlap.

burlap greenhouse shades

Shading on the Curve

So now we had a new challenge:  How to turn the burlap into shades that would curve with the wall of the greenhouse.

burlap greenhouse shades

Greenhouse before shades

I decided I would leave the ceiling of the greenhouse un-shaded since most of the sunlight comes in from the south-facing wall.  So I would shade the curved wall down to the upper shelf.  That way, plants that needed it could be placed on the lower shelf and still get direct sunlight.

But how to make a shade fit the curve.  At first I thought we (and by “we,” I mean Chris) could install an upper rod to suspend the shades, and then a second rod farther down on the curve.  The shades would then be tucked behind the second rod so they would follow the line of the curve.

But we both hated the thought of drilling a lot of big holes and….

To view this full post you can read it on Heidi’s blog here.

 

greenhouse ventilation

Greenhouse Ventilation

Greenhouse Ventilation 

Vents VS Exhaust/Shutter System

greenhouse ventilation

There are many factors to consider when greenhouse shopping; Insulation, glazing material, space, foundation, heat and of course greenhouse ventilation. And if you are planning on growing year round you want to make sure to choose the most energy efficient structure because heating in the cooler months can be expensive – This is where great insulation can reduce energy costs.

greenhouse ventilation
Example of roof vent
Greenhouse ventilation
Example of roll up sides

Manual or automatic roof vents have their advantages and disadvantages. If the greenhouse is designed very well then aerodynamics have been considered and the roof vents will be placed in the perfect position for wind to pull air out while still circulating air through the greenhouse. Placement of the greenhouse is also very important for wind to catch on the ridge of the greenhouse and create a vacuum type air movement. A large circulation fan or multiple fans will be required in the interior of the greenhouse and will aid in fresh air exchange. Some larger or commercial greenhouses offer a roll up design that allows for the sides of the greenhouse to be completely open to the outside. Now, if you are concerned about pests this might not be the best option for you because generally with open air vents many of them are needed and screening them can be difficult, if not impossible. Maintenance can give you trouble as well. If you do not have the time to go open the manual vents, do not have the ability to climb a ladder for high roof vents, or have limited budget for automatic vents then an alternative option should be considered. For a very small/beginner greenhouse or a small lean-to style with a low insulation value these type of vents are appropriate. The higher the insulation value of the greenhouse glazing material the stronger ventilation you will need.

 

greenhouse ventilation
220V power panel

Thermostatically controlled ventilation is very popular and with supplemental air circulation can be most efficient. Sunglo uses exhausts fans and motorized intake shutters controlled by a thermostat with the option to hook up to a heater as well; we call them power panels and include other electrical items too. So if you prefer your greenhouse to remain between 50° and 75° all you have to do is set the thermostats for the ventilation and heater to turn on and off automatically. The exhaust fan and shutter are synchronized to open at the same time. The motorized shutter opens to allow fresh cool air into the greenhouse while the exhaust fan starts to spin and expel the used hot air that has risen inside the greenhouse. Sunglo’s basic system is rated to exchange fresh air throughout the greenhouse once per minute; providing you with a system that cools rapidly. The basic system is included with every Sunglo greenhouse. The exhaust fan(s) are placed as high as possible on one end of the greenhouse and the

greenhouse ventilation
Schaefer exhaust fan and shutter
Greenhouse ventilation - Automatic opener
Automatic vent opener for Sunglo vent

shutter(s) are placed as low as possible on the opposite end. This allows for the best possible circulation throughout the entire greenhouse. There are many brands to choose from but either aluminum, steel, poly or fiberglass options are available each with different pros, cons, sizes and pricing. We include poly exhaust fans and shutters with our greenhouses but any type is available for upgrade. Automatic vent openers are available for the gable end manual vents on our greenhouses and will increase air circulation as well. They do not use any electricity. These automatic openers are controlled by a wax piston. By twisting the piston left or right sets the degree to which it opens. These automatic openers are specially important in areas where the climate stays consistently at or over 80 degrees. By setting up a circulation fan inside the greenhouse and setting the automatic openers to open before the ventilation system starts will save you electricity usage. Sunglo also offers a variety of atmospheric controls. If you would like to view some of the ventilation products Sunglo offers please visit the Schaefer website or give us a call with your inquiry.

 

greenhouse ventilation
Sunglo greenhouse – Front with intake shutter and back with exhaust fan

Learn more about summer climate control here.

If you are interested in adding ventilation to your greenhouse or would like to discuss options or have questions about anything please give us a call at 425-251-8005 or e-mail to info@sunglogreenhouses.com.

Summer Climate Control

Greenhouse Ventilation Fans

Having an extremely well insulated greenhouse can save you a fortune in the winter, but in the summer all that trapped heat can make for undesirable growing conditions. I was out in our demo model doing some irrigation upgrades this morning. It was at first a normal cloudy Seattle day, but as soon as the sun came out from behind the clouds the temperature shot right up. Thankfully, the thermostat kicked the Schaefer brand fan and shutter on and cooled the greenhouse down before things got uncomfortable. Greenhouse ventilation fans.

greenhouse ventilation fans

This got me to thinking about how great it is to have an active greenhouse ventilation system as opposed to a passive roof vent. The 12 inch 800 cubic feet per minute (CFM) fans that come standard with our 1000 series greenhouses easily exchange every bit of air (663 cubic feet to be exact) very rapidly. This means that by the time I noticed the sweat beginning to bead on my brow the ventilation system was already at work keeping me and my precious tomatoes cool. The other great thing about the ventilation system is that the intake shutter allows fresh carbon and oxygen rich air to enter the greenhouse. Combined with a horizontal air flow (HAF) fan, this system insures that plants are not forced to put up with stagnant “dead zones” or hot spots. A dead zone is a thin layer of air surrounding the leaf that quickly becomes devoid of carbon dioxide if not constantly replaced. While a passive roof vent will allow hot air to escape it does little to allow fresh air into the greenhouse.
Summer has gotten off to a slow start this year in Seattle, but if the weather continues to stay warm we will be putting on our shade cloth soon.

Greenhouse ventilation fans - Shade cloth

Up until now we have been able to let our Solanaceous babies soak up all the sun they can get, but the great thing about the shade cloth is that it helps to minimize the cost of cooling our greenhouse. Once installed it helps to avoid spikes in temperature and keeps the fan running less. Another thing that some of our customers have done is install a mist cooling system. For orchid enthusiasts this option works really well to keep temperatures down while maintaining a high humidity. In extremely warm climates our customers have found that attaching a swamp cooler to their intake vent works very well. These work by drawing air through a material saturated with cool water. As the air passes through the material it evaporates the water. The kinetic energy required for this evaporation is taken from the air itself resulting in cool, moist air. Working with a customer to replace his discontinued swamp cooler, I was surprised to find that HomeDepot.com has many available at affordable prices.

The ability to create a favorable environment for our precious specimens all year round is the true benefit of owning a greenhouse and for most of our customers the ventilation and shade cloth are more than adequate in the summer. For our customers who fight the heat more than the cold of winter please contact us about adding some automatic vent openers and many other options available to keep your greenhouse cool and comfy. Sunglo offers Schaefer Ventilation products; the best greenhouse ventilation on the market today.

Learn more about greenhouse ventilation here.Greenhouse ventilation fans.