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Energy saving in greenhouses can be obtained by energy balance-controlled screens

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The energy screens in two greenhouses, one clad with double acrylic and one with single glass, were controlled by an energy balance model. The parameters in the model were heat transmission coefficients, air temperature in the greenhouse and outdoors, irradiance and a single constant for the solar energy efficiency. The energy consumption, screen movements and daily light integral were compared with a glass greenhouse in which the energy screens were controlled by irradiance. In the greenhouse with light-controlled screens the set point for opening and closing of the screens was 5 Wm-2. The energy-saving screens controlled by the energy balance model opened later and closed earlier than in the greenhouse with light-controlled screens. When using the energy balance model the energy saving was 14% for the glass greenhouse and 41% for the double acrylic greenhouse compared with the glass greenhouse with light-controlled screens. The air temperature was on average similar in the three greenhouses, but when the screens were controlled by energy balance the daily light integral was approximately 10% lower and the number of hours the screens were closed was prolonged with 35% for the glass-covered greenhouse and 25% for the double acrylic-covered greenhouse compared with the greenhouse with light-controlled screens. Energy peaks in connection with operation of the screens were not reduced. During the experiment Begonia elatior, Dendranthema grandiflora (Chrysanthemum), Hedera helix, Helianthus annuus, Gerbera jamesonii and Kalanchoƫ blossfeldiana were grown in the greenhouses. There was a trend in prolongation of the production time when the plants were grown in the glass greenhouse with energy balance control of the screens. A lower number of flowers or inflorescences were observed for some of the plant species produced in the greenhouses with energy balance-controlled screens.
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Keywords: Climatic control; daily light integral; greenhouse climate; ornamental plants; thermal screens

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Aarhus, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Horticulture, Aarslev, Denmark

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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