What are some resources for information on using wind or solar to heat a hoop house?
M.S.New MexicoAnswer: Thank you for your recent request for information from ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Unfortunately, there is very little information on using solar or wind to heat a hoop house. Most of the information available is on using alternative fuels for supplemental heating in a hoop house or using wind or solar to power roll-up or roll-down sides of a hoop house. I recommend that you investigate solar and wind options for a greenhouse and see if there are systems that may be compatible for a hoop house. I would also like to mention that there are several options for heating a hoop house that do not require a fuel source. These options include using double poly walls with a blower and using low tunnels inside of a high tunnel. This method is described in detail in Eliot Coleman’s newest book, The Winter Harvest Handbook. New Mexico grower Don Bustos uses a solar-heated greenhouse that includes a root-zone thermal heating system. Bustos received funding from a SARE grant to help fund his solar-heated system. For more information on this project, please visit the SARE web site (www.sare.org) and click on the western region. Here is a list of additional resources that may be beneficial to your request:ATTRA’s Solar Greenhouse Resource ListThis resource list discusses basic principles of solar greenhouse design, as well as different construction material options.HighTunnels.org Contains information and resources on high tunnels. Also has a list serve for growers to ask one another specific questions on high tunnel production.Growing for MarketPublication for market farmers; web site contains great information and past articles on hoop house growing and energy sources. NREL Information on small photovoltaic systems for homes and farms.BuildItSolar.com Plans, tools, and information on do-it-yourself renewable energy and conservation projects.Home Power Magazine Information, plans, and resources for renewable energy