Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE01-361
-Clean, renewable energy sources can significantly reduce the expense in running a greenhouse in the northeast portion of the U.S. where harsh winter seasons can exist. Two technologies, solar energy and wind-power, are successful alternatives to traditional energy sources.
Solar Energy: Addition of a heat sink significantly decreases the energy required for heating the greenhouse. Prior to installation of the 4,000 gallon fish tank, a 6-month heating system required nearly 200 gallons of propane gas to heat the structure throughout a winter season.
Wind-power: The addition of the windmill yielded substantial savings for the entire property where the greenhouse is located. Although unable to accurately measure the electricity needed for the greenhouse itself, one can assume that the savings are linear in scope; meaning that property-wide energy savings could be proportioned relative to the building structures’ needs compared to the entire property. In other words, whatever electricity was needed specific to the greenhouse prior to the installation of the windmill, the greenhouse realized the same degree of energy savings as the entire property. In terms of savings, the electricity bill was approximately 45% lower during the second winter season with the windmill.
Hydrogen gas generation is currently an unproven technology for individuals and/or small scale operations. The investment in starting materials and the energy needed to run a small-size hydrogen generator does not yield monetary savings for a greenhouse owner at this time-especially in the northeast section of the United States where additional measures (creation of an insulated, storage structure) need to occur in order to operate a unit during the winter months.
ROI and economic findings: Because the owner of the greenhouse is a craftsman and inventor, he was able to fashion many unique tools/apparatus, build several items from kits, and/or utilize used parts and scrap materials for many projects. In addition, a few items were “donated” to the experimental greenhouse project.