Table of building insulation costs   (C) Daniel Friedman Greenhouse Insulation Choices Described

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Greenhouse insulation advice:

This article discusses insulation options for greenhouses and nighttime insulation options for solariums and cold or drafty windows.

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Advice for Insulating a Greenhouse or Solarium Against Night Time Heat Loss

The table of insulation properties at page top and accompanying text are reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss.

The question-and-answer article about insulation options for greenhouses or solariums, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.

Question about how to best insulate a greenhouse against night time heat losses:

We have a greenhouse with a 30- by 20-foot vertical south-facing wall and have searched in vain for a thermally efficient and aesthetically acceptable nighttime insulation.

Also, we plan to add a brick floor on top of our slab which is insulated only on the perimeter and always feels cold. Should we put an inch of blue styrofoam under the brick to isolate it completely from the slab? We have no significant overheating problem. - P.P.


Greenhouse floor slab insulation retrofit (C) Daniel Friedman Steven BlissA number of options for nighttime insulation were described in "Warm Wraps for Cold Windows", Solar Age, 6/83. Slab floors, even if they are insulated, tend to be chilled by downdrafts from cold window surfaces. So you should look for a window insulation with good edge seals to reduce the cold air flow at night.

If you find that window insulation does not solve the cold floor problem, then adding insulation to the slab would be in order. Your approach should work well as long as the brick will provide adequate thermal storage for your design.

To increase the new floor thickness, and thus its thermal mass, you can set the brick on edge. Since you are setting the brick over compressible material, a flexible (mortarless) paving system would be easiest. In this type of system, the floor bricks are tightly packed to one another without wet mortar. A mix of sand and dry mortar may be swept between the joints and dampened for a more solid and less permeable floor.

You may set the bricks on the foam insulation or add a layer of plywood underlayment first. In either case, a double layer of 15# felt paper is recommended directly under the brick to cushion and protect the underlayment.

Since heat loss is greatest from slab edges, you might want to thermally isolate the new floor from the foundation walls by adding a foam strip at the floor's edge. You can conceal the foam strip with a baseboard (sketch above-left).

Here we include solar energy, solar heating, solar hot water, and related building energy efficiency improvement articles reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss.

Original Solar Age Magazine article on greenhouse insulation and night time insulation

Q&A: Insulating a Greenhouse: Insulation for Greenhouses or Solariums - PDF version; use your browser's back button to return to this page

Sunspace & Solar Glazing & Shading Articles


Continue reading at GREENHOUSE DESIGN for SOLAR HEATING for a discussion of greenhouse trombe wall and ventilation for solar heating, or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.

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INSULATION LOCATION for GREENHOUSE or SOLARIUM at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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