Your resource site for information on energy conservation in agricultural enterprises.


SARE Professional Development Presentations

The following presentations were developed with the assistance of a SARE Professional Development grant for the education of cooperative extension educators, college instructors and high school vocational agricultural teachers on energy efficiency and the use of biomass energy for heating greenhouses. If you'd like the PowerPoint files of these presentations or a video tape of the webinar of the different presentations (approximately 1 hour each), please send an email with your contact information (educational institution name, address, phone number and email) and educational affiliation to Scott Sanford at

Greenhouse Energy Conservation
Topics will include type of structure, glazing materials, types of heat loss, infiltration losses, heating systems, heat distribution, thermal curtains, space efficiency, summer ventilation, supplemental lighting and a brief look at passive solar greenhouse design.

Thermal/Shade Curtains for Greenhouses
Topic covered: The advantages and uses of a curtain system, types of configurations, installation issues, basic components, types of curtain materials, installation, curtain opening devices, controls, curtain management, approximate energy savings and installed costs. We also look at an alternative technology that uses foam between poly films to reduce heat losses. There are several greenhouse energy estimation tools available for estimating the energy use and potential energy savings from different energy conserving technologies and management practices which will be reviewed.

Energy-Efficiency in Greenhouse Crop Production
Topics covered: Use of supplemental lighting on plugs and transplants to accelerate cropping and improve plant quality, controlling photoperiod for flowering of finished plants, and energy-efficient temperature strategies during the finish stage.

Alternative Fuels for Heating Greenhouses
Topics covered: This presentation will look at different potential fuel sources (biomass & used oils), types of furnaces and boilers including outdoor wood-fired hydronic heaters, pellet or grain fired boilers/furnaces, stand alone stoves and a case study of two greenhouses. We'll wrap up the presentation with information on energy grants to help pay cost share the capital costs of energy saving equipment or heating equipment to burn a renewable fuel.

UW Greenhouse Energy Analyzer
This tool runs on Microsoft Excel. The tool uses your inputs on how the greenhouse is constructed along with temperature and solar data to calculate the heating needs for the period of time and temperature profiles used for your greenhouse. The program help you analyze changes in glazing materials, reducing infiltration losses, perimeter heat loss, high efficiency heaters, the type and location of heat distribution, day/night temperature profiles, and thermal/night curtains. The calculations are based on 30 year averages of weather data and will not likely exactly match your energy use in any given year but it can but used to compare energy efficiency options. The estimated energy savings should be in the range of what would be expected in an average year. The weather data in the program includes the following states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana.

Send an email with your contact information to and you will receive a copy of the program by reply. We need your contact information so we can get you an updated program in case we find an error; it will not be shared or used for any other purpose.

You can also find an on-line version of the program at

Additional Greenhouse Energy Resources
Additional Resources - A list of additional resources that may be helpful for reducing greenhouse energy use. There are also resource lists at the end of the extension publications listed above.

If you have information you think would be useful to this site please contact Scott Sanford, Senior Outreach Specialist, University of Wisconsin,

This project is funded in part by the Wisconsin Focus on Energy Initiative. For more information, visit or call 1-800-762-7077.