About the Passive Solar Greenhouse

The passive solar greenhouse concept is not new. In 2011, with rising energy costs and an increased interest in environmental issues, the Colorado Department of Agriculture built a prototype net zero passive solar greenhouse.  As a result of this research, Ceres Greenhouse Solutions set out to refine the concepts and make energy-efficient, sustainable greenhouses available to the wider market.  

In addition to refining the greenhouse structure, Ceres also developed a ground storage heating and cooling system called Ground-Air Heat Transfer (GAHT).  The system works in a variety of warm- and cold-air climates. Ceres has designed and built systems all over the world—from Sweden to Brunei.

Find about more about the Ceres passive solar greenhouse and greenshaus.

The greenhouse by the numbers:

  • 2,100 – number of square feet
  • 2 – number of additional months of growing versus a traditional greenhouse
  • 5.966 – number of kilowatts used daily 
  • 90 – percent that the GAHT system reduces gas consumption over the same size greenhouse

About Ceres Greenhouse Solutions

Our family worked with Ceres Greenhouse Solutions to create our healthy, energy-efficient, passive solar greenhouse that produces leafy greens year-round.

We wanted to show our community that we can provide tasty and fresh produce, through our Canadian winters, while keeping our heating bills low, and having less of an impact on the environment.

The result is a 30’x70’ HighYield™ Kit commercial greenhouse. The structure is built with insulated metal panels on the north, east and west sides so that sunlight entering through the efficient glazing on the south roof and wall of the structure will not escape – and instead be reflected back into the growing space.

We started operating the greenhouse with only the GAHT® (ground to air heat transfer system) system at first to heat the growing environment with the energy of the soil underground. We then explored different possibilities before increasing the equipment to include a propane heater and LED artificial lights to get to a fully functioning and year-round growing facility. We worked closely with Ceres to estimate, simulate, and implement additional equipment as efficiently as possible. For example, the LEDs have been specifically designed and controlled to deliver the right amount of light for our specific location.

We reached a point where we can grow using 5,400 less gallons of propane for heating compared to similar size greenhouses in our area. This is the equivalent of 30 Tons of CO2 saved each year.

We are always working to be better as growers and reduce our energy consumption even more. We will continue to make improvements and hopefully inspire other growers to do the same.