Few things give me more pleasure than living amongst green plants, especially when they are edible. If you couple this with the possibility of helping to heat your house, you can readily see why people become attached to their attached greenhouses. I have built several of them, with different materials and designs, but the basic concepts are really pretty simple. It is best to design an attached greenhouse into the original house plan, but it is often quite feasible to retrofit one onto an existing house. You need some space on the south side of the house wide enough to accommodate a growing bed and space for access. The area should not be obstructed by trees or other things that would limit the available sun light. It could have an outside entrance, but it doesn't have to.
This is the attached solar greenhouse that is part of Kelly and Rosana Hart's earthbag home. What looks like a tree through the glass is actually a group of cherry tomato plants. The geranium on the right has grown nearly to the cieling.
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This attached solar greenhouse is designed for the Rocky Mountain (8,000 Degree Day) climate. It provides about 100,000 BTUs per day to help heat the house, as well as the 300 sq. ft. of floor space for growing plants. It is a 2X6 wood frame structure with a large glass facade (210 sq. ft.) aimed at the winter sun. The glass is insulated at night by a Beadwall system to help maintain minimum air temperatures of 55F degrees.
A small fan moves hot air out of the greenhouse and into the main house delivering heat and humidity on clear winter days. The fan is necessary to prevent temperatures in the greenhouse from climbing over 90F at mid-day. Barrels of water stacked two high along the north wall for thermal storage rise about 15F degrees on a sunny day. They store heat for night time use, preventing daytime overheating.
Glass is tilted 58 degrees to the horizontal to gain maximum solar aperture at this site. It has to be shaded by exterior curtains is the summer. The 350 cfm fan brings heat in winter to the house, dropping 15F before it returns to the greenhouse through an existing door. Summer ventilation is by roof ventilator and by cross-breeze through doors.
For more information about this plan, and many others, visit our sister site www.dreamgreenhomes.com, where you will find a wide range of plans for sustainable homes, greenhouses, small buildings, garages, and food storage space for sale. Dream Green Homes is a consortium of outstanding architects and designers, who have pooled their talent and expertise for your benefit.