The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Heat retention in a greenhouse

Greenhouses provide heatFor the sun to be used as the main heat source in a greenhouse, there must be some way of collecting and storing heat during the day and releasing it at night.  There has to be enough storage available to absorb excess heat in the daytime so that the temperature does not get too hot, as well as to store enough heat that supplemental heat is not needed on a normal winter’s night.

There are two common systems of heat storage: one using containers of water, the other using some type of masonry.  If you can scrounge free water containers, water storage is cheaper.  In the greenhouse described here, the owner must find a source of heat storage.

Storage containers should be painted black, dark green, or dark blue for maximum heat absorption, and must be placed where the winter sunlight will hit them directly.  Because of the corrosive nature of water, metal drums should have a rust inhibitor added to the water to prolong their lives.

It is a good idea to put storage containers underneath the plant beds so that they keep the soil warm.  A plant bed can be a simple wooden box sitting on top of 55-gallon water-filled drums.

Masonry storage can be: a concrete floor, or one of brick, tiles or even dirt, sand, or gravel; or a stack of rocks, bricks, etc. supporting growing containers.  In any case, there should be insulation underneath the masonry to prevent heat loss to the ground.  This insulation can be as simple as bricks stacked on an old wood pallet, keeping them off the ground.

Did you enjoy these excerpts from Low-Cost Sunroom?  If so, download the whole thing --- it's free today on Amazon!  Thanks for reading.

This post is part of our Low-Cost Sunroom lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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