Homepage 2019 » Forums » Permaculture Design » How to heat a greenhouse without electricity

This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  gerard.salou 2 years, 10 months ago.

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #64419


    I have a simple greenhouse in which I overwinter a few herbs and my fig trees. I would love to do more with it, but I am in NY and it gets cold in the winter. During the day the greenhouse is warm, but at night the temps are about the same as outside. Is there a way to heat it without running electric?

    I read about hot compost, but haven’t been able to maintain the temperature needed. My compost is slow and lukewarm. 🙁

    I have heard that you can use large water drums to absorb the heat during the day and release it slowly overnight – passive solar principals. Has anyone tried it? Does it work? If so, is there a way to figure out the volume of water needed for the size of the greenhouse? What are the best kinds of containers to use?

    Thanks in advance!



    Hi in the first video on here they mentioned chickens in a green house helping to keep it all running great. so it you are allowed chickens you might want to
    explore that and also you might want to explore solar panels, or a calor gaz heater, also try fleeces for the plants, use plastic milk bottles as mini greenhouses over the smaller things.. none of these things are expensive and all are easy to make or create. hope this helps a bit 🙂



    Hi Jennifer,

    I am from England, UK, and my Mum used a low heat heater in her greenhouse. It was a long and slim heater that used electricity. She had it on constantly but on very low heat that kept the chilliness at bay. It was inexpensive too, but invaluable for her crops ; )

    Hope that helps and all the best to you xox



    Three principles {1) sore heat (2) stop radiant loss (3) keep the plants warm instead of the air
    (1) as you suggested barrels of water can store heat they can serve as shelf support at the same time.
    (2) you do not need glazing on the North side of a greenhouse. If you do have glazing on the North side cover it with a reflective blanket and then an insulating blanket. In my case I built my north wall with shiny metal roofing on the inside and then covered it with layers of carpet padding and carpet. Consider if you have the time and patience to have a reflective insulating cover for the south wall that you put on for the night and remove for the day.
    (3) The radiant heat from the barrels of water keep the soil and plants above warm. Heated air tends to escape so if you do add supplemental heat it should be radient heat. I have found that ruby red heat lamps directed down on plants has prevented freeze damage when my high-low thermometer sowed the air temperature dropped well below freezing overnight. My permaculture instructor neighbor built a rocket mass heater into his greenhouse for the ultimate method.



    I know this comes late…
    You might have found out about Climate Battery technology for greenhouses http://www.ecosystems-design.com/greenhouse-design.html
    I hope it helps,

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.