Mitigating and minimizing Energy Loss In Your Greenhouse


As energy costs continue to rise, growers to need to know what their options are to help reduce energy inefficiencies to grow healthy crops and maximize their profits.

Solar power, also known as photovoltaic (PV) systems, LED lights (light-emitting diode) and infrared heaters are all some of the technologies being looked at as ways to reduce greenhouse energy costs. But the first step in any investment is to reduce any existing energy inefficiencies in your greenhouse.

Manage the temperature based on the crop and finish date. Do you grow the crop cooler for a longer period of time or warmer for a shorter period of time? It saves energy to grow at a warmer temperature for a shorter time.

Close air leaks. Seal vents, doors and fan openings with weather stripping, and cover exhaust fan openings when not in use. Fix any tears in the poly and replace any cracked or missing glass panes. Close up those leaky spots in the greenhouse. You don’t want energy savings to go out of the door or out of the poly.

Horizontal air flow fans help mix the air in the greenhouse and can help keep temperatures uniform. The fans also mix the humidity and CO2. Consistent air temperature throughout the crop will ensure the crop grows as uniformly as possible.

Install infrared (IR), anti-condensate poly film. The IR film treatment lets sunlight in but traps the radiant heat inside the greenhouse. The anti-condensate treatment reduces the surface tension on the poly allowing condensation to flow down the poly and not form droplets. You don’t have as many drops of condensation on the underside of the poly. The droplets can block sunlight, drip on plants and workers, create an environment conducive for pathogens and create safety issues such as slippery algae on the floor.

Use photoperiodic lighting on long-day plants. Long-day plants flower when the dark hours fall below their critical photoperiod. Properly timed supplemental lighting can artificially reduce the number of nighttime hours. You use photoperiodic lighting to induce flowering. The goal is to grow a quality plant as fast as you can.

Incandescent lamps alternating with compact fluorescent lamps are effective for stimulating flowering of long-day plants. LED lights can also be used to regulate flowering by photoperiodic lighting, but choose the LED lights carefully. LED lights are a major investment and there are many LED lamps available. Their light spectrum varies and sometimes causes confusion on how to use them. You need to be careful about what you’re using.

Use high-intensity light on young plants. High-intensity lights are most economical for growing young plants because you have so many plants per square foot.

Transplant larger plugs and liners. Plants in larger plug trays take less time to finish growth, but larger plugs do cost more.

Use more energy-efficient heaters. Some heat is always lost with the exhaust gases, but more energy efficient heaters lose less. The most efficient heaters for greenhouses have up to 96% thermal efficiency.

Insulate side, knee and end walls. Whenever the temperature in the greenhouse is different than the outside air, heat energy will move through the structure materials from the warm side to the cool side.

Install retractable energy curtains. The curtains shade the crop on sunny days in the spring and summer and keep heat in the greenhouse at night during the winter. Installing energy curtains isn’t going to be profitable in every situation. If you start growing in March, you’re probably not going to need one. If you’re growing in the winter to get plants to market in March, they are very cost effective.

Install more energy efficient lamps. LED lamps continue to improve and lamps with a photosynthetic photon efficacy (μmol×J–1) of greater than two are available. Make sure to ask about that efficacy number prior to purchasing lamps.

Install in-floor heat to increase substrate temperature and to decrease air temperature. You can lower your air temperature and increase your substrate temperature if you have root zone heating.

Use environmental control systems. They’re more responsive and growers don’t have to manually alter the environment several times a day.

For growers who want to consider solar, consider getting an energy audit to assess your system. That’s where you want to start.

Most public utilities and electric cooperatives offer free energy audits, but they are not the type 2 audits. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers defines three levels of energy audits types 1, 2 and 3 with the larger numbers having greater detail and accuracy.

Type 2 audits are required to participate in the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

EQIP provides funding up to 75% of the cost of eligible projects that increase energy efficiency. REAP provides grants up to 25% of the total eligible project cost and loan guarantees for up to 75% of the total eligible project cost to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. Now is a good time to get into a renewable energy and we would like to partner with you to evaluate your operation for energy efficiency & renewable energy.

Solar Shade Covered Parking

Need some solar shade parking to keep your employees happy, leverage some tax credits and save money on your utility expense? Yep, we got you covered!

We’ve found that all of our clients here in the desert southwest want covered parking for their cars. If you don’t have it then you’re stepping into a furnace every time you get in your vehicle. Solar Shade covered parking is the way to go. Two birds one stone. Shade and renewable electricity to knock down your utility bill.


For Sale: Used CAT (Caterpillar) 378 hours 1998 GAS 3512SITA “RICH BURN” Low Gas Pressure 570KW/208V generator.

We just acquired and have For Sale, a Low Hour (378 hours) used CAT (Caterpillar) 1998 GAS 3512SITA “RICH BURN” Low Gas Pressure 570KW/208V unit. This is an ideal cost effective source of power as a back up unit for “off grid” scenarios. We will design & install this unit to our CAT MICROGRID (solar, battery, generator) for clients that have isolated properties with high electricity demands that cannot connect to the utility. Alternatively, this is the ideal generator to provide emergency power for businesses that suffer from consistent utility power loss due to natural disaster events such as wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes etc. Contact me for more details on this specific unit or how we can evaluate your situation for backup & emergency power.

Greenhouse : Combined Heat & Power (CHP) Caterpillar generator For Sale

Caterpillar Natural Gas Generator

For Sale: Used 480KW CAT Natural Gas Generator ,MODEL # 3412SITA. It’s very low hours, 680 since new ; ENGINE HP = 691 HP@ 1800 rpm. It is ideal for a Combined Heat & Power (CHP) application or CAT microgrid, (Solar, Battery & Generator) for isolated locations or can be used for back up power scenarios in case of utility power loss. We can convert to Liquid Propane specific to your application. Contact me directly for more information.

#microgid #solar #Battery #CAT #naturalgas #combinedheatpower #chp #generator

Monitoring Systems for Outdoor Hemp Cultivation

With the increasing popularity of hemp cultivation outdoors and in greenhouses, new monitoring systems are entering the market to meet the needs of hemp farmers.

Hemp farming is fast becoming a popular industry due to its wide range of therapeutic and manufacturing uses. Many systems already exist for monitoring indoor hemp cultivation facilities, such as Urban-Gro and Braingrid, bringing novel, Internet of Things solutions into the hemp space.

Now that hemp is a fully legal agricultural commodity, more farmers are choosing to grow hemp outdoors. Within the CBD oil extraction industry, hemp is often found growing in a greenhouse. Both options are rising in popularity for hemp, meaning that monitoring systems for use in these environments are necessary.

Learn the requirements for effective monitoring systems, and take a look at some of the key players within the hemp cultivation industry.


A remote monitoring system is designed to safeguard against prolonged environmental conditions that could damage or destroy an entire crop. A remote monitoring system must be able to:

  • Track near real-time changes in ecological conditions.
  • Communicate alerts to the user independent of the Internet or an Ethernet cable (e.g., enabled via a secondary cellular network for redundancy)
  • Continue to operate in the event of a power outage (must have a battery backup system)

Depending upon the size of the operation, a monitoring system able to analyze different zones within the crop may be desired. If hemp is being grown in a greenhouse, choose a monitoring system that can also be connected to any HVAC or lighting equipment to monitor performance, and check for failures.


Monitoring systems are a core component of any automation system, as data must first be collected before an equipment or environmental decision can be made. Moving toward automation of the growing environment can accomplish the following:

Reduce the cost of labor

Automating essential tasks allows for less personnel, or grants staff to devote more of their time to other areas of interest, such as R&D or marketing efforts.

Increases yield and product quality

Measuring environmental conditions within a grow operation allows the farmer to improve their methods based on analyzed data and trends. This optimization often results in improved outcomes as related to quantity. Recipes for specific types of hemp can be created, ensuring repeatability in product quality.

Eliminate guesswork

Through analyzing cultivation data, the grower can make informed operational decisions. Changes in farming practices will only be based on evidence, rather than speculation. Sugarmade AI Cultivation Monitoring System

In May of this year, Sugarmade announced a new initiative to develop a simple, AI-based technology to monitor the cultivation of outdoor hemp. Sensors will be placed at appropriate locations throughout a hemp field and will gather data such as temperature, relative humidity, and soil moisture.

This monitoring system will be based on narrowband IoT technology, which is a type of cellular communications network. Advantages of this technology include a wider coverage area than other mobile networks and long battery life.

Sugarmade has not yet made public a timeline for the development of this technology.


Another cellular-based system, the Sensaphone remote monitoring devices are specifically designed for use in a greenhouse environment. Sensors are placed throughout the greenhouse, and temperature, ventilation, CO2, and relative humidity data is collected. The user can set threshold limits for each parameter and is notified via a call or text if any variable falls outside the threshold limits.

Alerts are also received in the event of a power outage or equipment failure. Data is backed up on the cloud for redundancy, and the device is equipped with an internal rechargeable battery for redundancy in the case of a power outage.


In addition to offering an automatic dosing system to ensure consistent fertigation, Link4 has also created a class of crop monitoring systems designed for greenhouse growing. These systems control as well as monitor, and can manage up to 24 HVAC and lighting devices.


A form of outdoor growing, protected cropping allows plants to grow in a fully outdoor environment but with the added benefit of minimal structures offering protection from the elements. Examples of such enclosures would be hoop houses, tunnel houses, and canopy protection.

Autogrow’s system allows the hemp farmer to monitor and control variables such as irrigation, fertigation, run-off, and root zone. The user receives an alert in the event of a problem and can manage the system remotely from their smart device.

This articles was originally written and published by Amanda Luketa of Cannabis Tech