Keeping the Greenhouse Warm in the Far North

We had a great question come up recently from a customer that we wanted to share with you!

Question: Where is your northern-most dome located? If someone upgraded to use solar hot water heat exchangers, what winter temperatures could the greenhouse still be operational at?

Answer: We have nine Growing Domes in Alaska as well as nineteen from British Columbia to Ontario, Canada. Just last September we put up a 33′ Growing Dome at a school in Alaska. As far as the solar hot water heat exchangers go, you would have to have a decent amount of sun for them to do the job for you. In a sunny climate, the Growing Dome stays 30 degrees Farenheit warmer inside than it is outside. I am quite sure that with the solar hot water heat exchanger that it would be 50 degrees Farenheit warmer inside than out. So, the outside temperature could get down to -20 degrees Farenheit outside before you have freezing temperatures in the Growing Dome. Customers have installed solar hot water heat exchangers in the Growing Domes themselves in a couple different formats. Some decided to feed the hot water into their water tank. This creates a temperature gradient inside the Growing Dome with the area nearest the water tank being the warmest. Others have installed pipes in the floor which makes for more even temperatures throughout the Growing Dome.

Comments

  1. We have taken out the water tanks and replaced them with a koi pond. Four large solar thermal panels are used in a drain back system to not only heat the the pond (heat cutoff at 78 degrees to not cook the fish), but also feed two thermal space heaters. When it got to -23 in Estes Park CO, the inside temperature dipped briefly below 40 before the sun came back out.

    • WOW! That is awesome Steve! -23 outside and 40 degrees inside is very impressive. Thank you so much for sharing. We love hearing what people are doing differently in the dome.

  2. My dome in Steamboat Springs gets down into the teens on cold nights here. I am new to the area and the dome, and want to know when I can plant my spring crops safely if it gets that cold inside at night. Can I start my seeds there if I cover them at night? It gets plenty warm during the day. Also, one of my upper windows blew open and got stuck open a month or so ago, and the mechanism came apart. I got it closed and was going to wait for warmer weather to try and fix it. Can I just put the pin back into the cylinder to get it to work, or is it done for? Thanks for any advice.

    • Hi Abbe, There are a number of ways you can get your seeds started early. Usually you can start in the Growing Dome about 1 month before you would outside. With the use of row covers or cloches (see this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtBbkNlklEo&list=UUnjjXOtie5CuMu2BPjVOQAQ&index=1&feature=plcp) you can get started 2 months earlier than outside. Also, it helps to start your seeds close to the water tank which is the warmest part of the Growing Dome. This week on the blog we’ll be posting a calendar of planting in relation to your local last frost date. Stay tuned! I will have Destiney in the Customer Care contact you to discuss your vent openers and see if it needs a repair or new part. All the best! – Stacey

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