Solar Greenhouses

custom sunroom enclosure, custom wood framed greenhouse, wood frame sunroom
custom sunroom enclosure, custom wood framed greenhouse, wood frame sunroom


Ever wondered how to extend your season into the winter? An insulated passive solar greenhouse is the best greenhouse to have for growing throughout the year.

Solar greenhouse plans..important key features to include in the design is:

  • insulated north wall
  • the substantial heat sink, the water tank is best
  • South facing a glazed wall with glass or clear five wall polycarbonate
  • offset angled roofline can make a big difference, captures more sun rays
  • Solar Greenhouses with south-facing offset design out-perform most standard greenhouse designs
  • water source 


Solar greenhouses are unique, unlike their poly film and glass metal frame counterparts, the insulating qualities will extend your growing season. Along with heated ground soil, an effective heat sink, solar-powered ridge vents, circulating air, and a supplemental but yet low-cost heat source for those frigid nights is what plants need to survive in any cold season, and do not forget a little TLC. Every greenhouse needs a little love. The nice thing about this concept, this can be constructed with your own two hands with everyday materials

Most greenhouses can be built by a general craftsman with basic carpentry skills and tools. There are always a few tricks of the trade that need to be learned but as with anything else learning these tricks can be acquired as you go along. Need advice and a helping hand and I’ll be happy to help.


Work especially well for starting seedlings in the late winter or early spring. Get a head start on the growing season early on and when the temperatures fall below the optimal growing temperature, a passive solar greenhouse will help to preserve all-year-round plant growth.

Greenhouse polycarbonate, greenhouses polycarbonate, Colorado polycarbonate

The neat feature about an insulated solar greenhouse is that plants can stay planted all winter long as well as all spring summer and autumn and with proper care, most plants will keep producing a nourishing harvest. This is also an ideal place to house your outdoor potted plants during the cold winter months. When planning for an insulated solar greenhouse, take into consideration foundation preparation.

Learn to achieve a way to warm the soil; this is extremely essential since the roots of all plants are highly sensitive to temperature. Growing all year in a solar-built greenhouse requires an insulated foundation. This is to insure that the transfer of cold through the concrete does not freeze the soil in which plants are growing. If raised plant benches are used this is not such a pressing concern, keeping the greenhouse warm, however, is.


The positioning of your solar greenhouse and your storage requirements will determine the size of your new structure. A good heat sink is also critical, figuring what is best to store radiant heat and how much space it will take. The best medium to store collected heat is through the use of water. Common types of heat sinks include barrels, small or large painted black and filled with water and glycol, positioned in the rear of the greenhouse against an insulated north wall. 

The transparent south wall allows direct sunlight to heat the barrels up during the peak hours of the day and during the evening the radiant heat stored in the barrels radiates into the solar greenhouse and will keep the greenhouse warm. Another form of a heat sink is solid stone or concrete walls flat up against the insulated north wall, keeping in mind that the south wall must allow direct sunlight to shine directly onto the stone. Stone also radiates heat as it cools down.


If your zone has long and cold winters then take into consideration the necessary components you will need to achieve all year-round plant growth, R-factors do not play such an important role in considering the design of the greenhouse since most of the structure will consist of transparent glazing. The key element here is to provide a draft-free environment to conserve heat as best as possible. Greenhouses in general, have very dramatic temperature swings. When the sun is hot in full force the greenhouse will heat up quickly, and when it is cold the same holds true. It gets cold quickly.

All in all, there is much to learn about solar greenhouses but not out of reach for those who truly want to achieve a rich and healthy growing environment for your plants to supply your family needs. The outlay, in the beginning, may require an initial investment but not nearly as much as other alternatives and the rewards are very gratifying as well as economical in the long run. Enjoy and consume your very own freshly grown organic vegetables and herbs all year long.


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