Member Since: 11/20/2017

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Re: What's the Best Way to Heat a Small Greenhouse?

My scenario: live in WI, temperatures get down to or below 0 easily, aquaponic system. I'm below freezing for at least 4-5 months out of the year. I am able to maintain 90 degrees at max across all GH.

My original problem: two winters ago, I hate an utility bill for nearly $2800 for a single month for all the boilers in each of my greenhouses. I was furious. I sat down after that bill and hashed out how I can increase my profits while reducing my heating costs with using compost and solar water heaters. My environment I had a central pole barn as my freezer and storage area for my produce surrounded by 10 GH. I figured I would go into the fertilizer business as well by using my pole barn as the compost location. With the help of my grandfather who had like 20 years in HVAC, now retired, we built my new solution.

My solution:
I use two heat sources as my fuel. Since I already had in floor radiant, this made it really easy. The first source is solar water heaters that I use during the daytime, I use 3 that I built for $300 a piece in materials. They each circulate directly into my heated water tank in each GH on a schedule. This provides roughly 12-14 hours of heat. The second source is the compost piles I created in my pole barn. When the temperature in my heated water tanks drops below a certain temp, another pump kicks on and circulates water through the copper lines I have sitting almost smack dab center of my compost piles, out to the heated water tanks in each green house.

Total Monthly Costs: My total financial monthly cost now is roughly $50 and that's simply to run the pumps and sometimes chlorine to keep the heat system clear. My total monthly time costs is roughly 10-20 hours turning compost over.

Estimated total Cost of hardware and trenching equipment: $14,300
Estimated total hours tweaking the system: 70
Max heat possible in all GH at the same time at 0 Fahrenheit: 87 degrees.

Result: I save roughly $8,000 a year now and produce. I also get about another 11-12,000 a year in profits from the fertilizer I produce.