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Greenhouse at the centre of an adobe home  RSS feed

 
steve perry
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Hi, this is my first attempt to design a home with a greenhouse at the centre of two adobe bricks built, i would like to have your opinion, doable or not?
the house was at first a 1800 square feet at the ground, on the ground floor living space and kitchen and on the 1st floor 2 bedrooms ensuite. and the green house was going to be built outside.

Then we thought of separating the building into 2 x 900 square feet and putting a greenhouse in the middle to grow tropical fruits and flowers and use it as a little living space with small seating area in a tropical garden, the hot air rising could be used to heat the 1 st floor through 2 windows overlooking the greenhouse. with a a sealing that opens manually when the temperature is high in summer, would this design work in a climate with a lot of sunshine
Annual high temperature: 100°F
Annual low temperature: 40°F


The side with a lot of windows is the sunny south side

Thanks everyone.
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steve perry
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North side and the opening on the top
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Bill Bradbury
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Location: Richmond, Utah
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Hi Steve,

Awesome, I live in an 1800 sq ft adobe and absolutely love it!

I have to ask though; what will you do when the greenhouse overheats. Will it overheat your home as well?
 
steve perry
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I never had a greenhouse, so i dont really know how it works, but i'm thinking to have big openings on the roof of the green house to always leave open in the summer when temperatures never drop under 80°F
i also have many windows in the building that can be open to release the heat, and in the winter keeping close with small openings for ventilation, it can be used as a hammock reading space watching bananas and mangos grow =D
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Bill Bradbury
pollinator
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Location: Richmond, Utah
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I am totally into the idea, but in effect this can be quite problematic. I think you would be happier with an atrium, instead of a greenhouse.

The difference is that an atrium has no glazing on the roof and typically utilizes optimized overhangs to minimize summertime solar gain while maximizing solar gain in winter. You can still grow food year around, but have much better control of the temperature, so you won't need so many vents and fans and other things to possibly malfunction.
 
steve perry
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Atrium! hmmm So that's less glass then, non glazed roof: which material would you use instead of glass, wood? bamboo? plastic? and overhangs on both sides? north and south you think? it is a 7 metres high glass structure so overhangs will have to be quite large to cover the half of the glazing...
 
Jeff Hodgins
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because of the height if you put intake at the bottom air intake and the vented top it will draw more air through but still I worked in greenhouses in summer. Its likmk 40°C with fans running full blast an opening roof you need
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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I live and work in earthen houses heated solely by attached greenhouses in a cold climate where winter heating is a major need. It works great and we don't use backup heat. However, we remove the greenhouses entirely in the summer, and put them on for autumn through spring.

Your design does look more like an "atrium" than like a "greenhouse." Horizontal or roof glazing tends to cause heat loss in winter and unwanted heat gain in summer when the sun is high. Making it basically removeable would help a lot. I don't mean opening one of the panels, but opening all four so that only the frame remains, and also opening a significant portion of the south glazing as well for summer. Your vertical south facing front is a good idea, since it gets sun only in winter and not in summer, or only in late summer. However you didn't give your latitude -- the further north you are, the more the sun will still hit your south glazing in summer, and in August if you've got 100F outside and a huge hot window, you may not be able to use your house wihtout a lot of AC. Heatwise, you can design for that, but your plants will want sun in summer as much as or more than in winter (thinking of the natural cycles of plants). In both summer and winter, plants that are not pressed right up against the southern glass won't get many hours of sunlight because the space is narrow and doesn't admit any from east and west. You'll definitely be able to make a lovely living space full of greenery that is thermally helpful in winter, but if you want to produce fruits in there, eg fruits that grow in warmer climates than yours, you may find that they don't get enough direct sunlight to produce and ripen well.

Adobe does a whole lot to moderate temperatures, and with your fairly moderate extremes of 40F and 100F, adobe alone will do a lot to keep your space comfortable for most of the year with no additional heating and cooling. The south facing glass can easily make enough difference in the winter so that you wouldn't need additional heat: your design is not optimal but with a cool winter it may be enough. The real issue is overheating in summer and fall.
 
steve perry
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Thanks guys, i decided to just leave the idea of the greenhouse heating the house, as you say, thick adobe walls + the south facing glazing and the occasional fireplace should do the job in winter, and i will just put the greenhouse away from the house, the kind we can completely open in summer.
I designed a new one, always in the middle of the two buildings but not sure if i should leave the north side glazed or just build a wall to avoid heat loss, as the sun wont be reaching that court side and i just wanted to have the view on the greenhouse from the entrance court.
Rebecca Norman, What do you mean by "the design isn't optimal"?
Here is how it looks now:
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Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1255
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
125
food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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By "not optimal," I think I meant that any enclosed space with a glazed roof is likely to overheat at the wrong time of year and lose heat at the wrong time of year, and also that the limited direct sunlight would make it hard to get good fruit yield.
 
Pia Jensen
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Rebecca Norman wrote:I live and work in earthen houses heated solely by attached greenhouses in a cold climate where winter heating is a major need. It works great and we don't use backup heat. However, we remove the greenhouses entirely in the summer, and put them on for autumn through spring.


this is how I envision my greenhouse working for me. I think I'll only need to remove the walls. At the base, under the framework along the edge of the greenhouse at the back (under the heat sink I'm building) I think I'll place a mesh wrapped "tube" of shredded coco husks in the hot season - thinking it can act as a "swamp cooler" - there's regular wind through my space and it goes right through my house... I envision sitting at my front door with a cool breeze wafting straight up onto my feet an across my body from the greenhouse into my house.

the concept briefly explained at my update 13 April


anybody tried anything like this before?
 
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