Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Web Series: Energy Conservation in Greenhouses and Alternative Fuels for Heating

Do you have questions about energy conservation and alternative fuels for heating greenhouses? Find answers in this series of free webinars developed for agricultural educators. All presentation materials and references will be made available to registered participants for developing their own programs.

This Professional Development Series was funded by an NCR-SARE Professional Development grant.

Greenhouse Energy Conservation
Tuesday, March 30, 2010 – 3:30 to 4:45 CST
Presenter: Scott Sanford – Sr. Outreach Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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. The hour will be packed with information and resources.

Thermal/Shade Curtains for Greenhouses
Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 3:30 to 4:45 CST
Presenter: Scott Sanford – Sr. Outreach Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Topics will include 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
Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - 3:30 to 4:45 CST
Presenter: Erik Runkle – Associate Professor, Michigan State University
Topics will include the 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
Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 3:30 to 4:45 CST
Presenter: Scott Sanford – Sr. Outreach Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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. The presentation will include information on energy grants to help pay cost share the capital costs of energy saving equipment or heating equipment to burn a renewable fuel.

About the Presenters:
Scott Sanford: M. Engr. Senior Outreach Specialist, Rural Energy Program, Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mr. Sanford works on energy conservation and renewable energy issues for agriculture and rural businesses. His work with the UW Rural Energy program involves developing tools for energy auditors, publications, providing programs for workshops and doing applied research. He is also leading the development of web-based energy assessment tools for various agricultural enterprises. Focus areas include dairy farms, irrigation, greenhouses, grain drying, crop storage, lighting and maple syrup production. More information at

Erik Runkle, Ph.D.: Associate Professor, Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University
Dr. Runkle’s research group focuses on the environmental physiology of ornamental herbaceous plants, with an emphasis on commercial floriculture crops. In particular, his group is investigating how light (quantity, quality, and duration) and temperature (including vernalization) influence growth and development of annual bedding plants, herbaceous perennials, and potted flowering plants. Three underlying objectives of this research are: 1) to introduce “new” floriculture crops to the greenhouse industry to replace or supplement the production of other, less profitable crops; 2) to improve the production efficiency of crops currently grown; and 3) to minimize production inputs – with an emphasis on greenhouse energy – to reduce production costs. More information at

This webinar series is targeted to any Agricultural Educator – Extension agent, High School Vo-Ag or college. The webinar is free. Please use the following link to register

If you have problems registering or the dates aren’t convenient but you’d like to participate in a future workshop on Greenhouse Energy Conservation and Alternative fuels, please email Scott Sanford, Please include the words “SARE Greenhouse webinar” in the subject line.

To read more on the NCR-SARE Professional Development project associated with this series, visit the SARE online reporting site at:

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