H.H. Adem, D.W. West
In 1984 two solar heated greenhouses were constructed at the Institute for Irrigation and Salinity Research, Tatura (Fig. 1). These greenhouses represent a combination of ideas generated at CSIRO Griffith and the Tatura Institute aimed at energy conservation using solar energy as a heat source. Two commercial greenhouses were purchased in kit form whilst the rockpiles were designed and constructed from the ground up using conventional building methods. These greenhouses are simple to construct, are flexible in their operation and include a number of innovative ideas in the control system.

The temperature of the air in a greenhouse is greater than that outside at the same time. This is called the greenhouse effect and can be used to modify microclimate for plant production.

Although this heat trap supplies heating during the day, at night, temperatures will fall to undesirable levels which can effect plants which are sensitive to low temperatures. By insulating the greenhouse using double skinned cladding and by enclosing the greenhouse in a thermal blanket at night heat loss to the outside air is slowed down.

Supplementary heating at night using electric radiators or fuel-fired boiler is effective but expensive.

A solar greenhouse stores the sun's heat energy during the day and allows this heat to be recovered at night. Solar heating combined with efficient thermal insulation offers a low-cost form of heating.

The two major types of active solar heating systems for greenhouses are the air based systems using a rockpile and water based systems. The Tatura greenhouse uses a vertical flow rockpile and a roof-mounted solar air heater.

Adem, H.H. and West, D.W. (1989). THE TATURA SOLAR GREENHOUSE. Acta Hortic. 257, 149-154
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1989.257.17

Acta Horticulturae