Have you been using a thermal screen in your greenhouse? You really should…
We’re big fans of efficiency here at DryGair. We’ve noticed that many greenhouse growers have yet to hop on the thermal screen train. So, we’ve compiled a simple list to sum up the reasons we consider thermal screens to be a must-have.
Reduce Energy Consumption
In a grow operation, energy is a massive expense. Most energy is expended trying to maintain an optimal temperature to make our plants comfortable. This means heating up when it’s cold outside, such as during winter, nighttime, or when growing in places with cold climates. During the summer, hot days and generally in warm regions, cooling is the big energy consumer. Whether you need boilers or air conditioners, heat pumps or HVACs, one thing is certain – your energy bill can climb high.
One thing that may drastically reduce your energy needs is a thermal screen. Heat is constantly being exchanged with the outside and by creating an extra barrier you can reduce the heat transfer. This allows you to conserve heat collected during the day as well as the infrared radiation absorbed by the floor which is released as heat throughout the night. By utilizing the right screen, you can reduce the heat runoff by closing and further isolating the greenhouse environment during cold periods. But using it wisely is key, as on hot days you may also use it prevent overheating. It really is a big player in the climatization game.
Energy efficiency is by far the greatest advantage of the screen, generally allowing it to pay itself off in 18-36 months.
Prevent Condensation Drips
Plants and soil constantly emit water . If this water vapor meets a cold surface, the water condenses onto that surface into liquid form. Most times, that surface is your ceiling! Even if you control your relative humidity levels, when it’s cold outside, you’re bound to end up with condensation on your ceiling, pipes and railings, due to the low temperatures outside. This inevitably causes water droplets to form and drip down onto your crops, which may seriously harm them by providing the conditions for the development of many plant diseases. Proper screening can act as a physical barrier, stopping the drops from reaching your crops and completely negating this.
A point often raised against the use of thermal screens is that by reducing the size of the room, relative humidity can climb much faster. This emphasizes the need for dehumidification, which easily controls relative humidity levels, especially in an insulated environment. Coupled together you can achieve greater energy efficiency while reducing humidity problems. It really is a win-win scenario.
Efficient use of space
Thermal screens separate the top part of the greenhouse from the central growing space. In addition to creating insulation, this also “shrinks” the greenhouse space. If you control parameters such as relative humidity, for example, using DryGair, you are able to treat a smaller space, giving you more control and use less resources to do so. You can focus on your plants, without needing to treat the plant-less spaces at the top of the greenhouse. In general, working in a smaller space allows for easier, more efficient acclimation.
We have covered the basics of the thermal screen. There is a huge variety of screens to be utilized: you may want increased shading or complete blackout options, more air flow or more UV protection. You can double down for extra insulation or combine different types. Screens are a diverse field which can and should be complimentary to your operational needs.