Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New software calculates heating costs in greenhouse operations

Date:
March 17, 2011
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
A recently premiered software system can help greenhouse operators improve heating efficiency and generate more accurate energy analyses. The program, called Virtual Grower, pulls from a database of weather information to help greenhouse operators calculate heating costs. The system allows users to define specific design characteristics such as building material and construction style, and incorporates methods for estimating typical commercial-scale heating system efficiencies and air infiltration values.

In parts of the United States where ornamental and vegetable plants are produced in greenhouses during cold seasons, heating costs are second only to labor costs for greenhouse operators. Greenhouse growers are faced with important management decisions that rely on understanding how temperature settings, heating systems, fuel types, and construction decisions influence their heating costs. To address the lack of user-friendly computer programs currently available for calculating heating costs in greenhouse operations, scientists have created a state-of-the-art system they call "Virtual Grower."

"Virtual Grower was designed to help calculate heating costs at many U.S. sites," said Jonathan Frantz, a researcher with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service. The program uses a weather database of typical hourly temperature, light, and wind information of 230 sites from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Frantz and colleagues Bryon Hand, Lee Buckingham, and Somik Ghose reported on their cost-saving program in HortTechnology.

Highlights of Virtual Grower are features that allow users to define unique design characteristics such as building material and construction style. "Users can also define the type of heating system and heating schedule; the program will then predict heating costs based on typical weather at the selected location," Frantz said. Using the 'Add New Greenhouse', button on the site, values are automatically populated for greenhouse name, length, width, knee wall height, materials, fuel types, infiltration, and heating system efficiency. Users can change the values in drop-down windows or describe the house in more detail through additional buttons on the screen. The program also features methods for estimating typical commercial-scale heating system efficiencies and air infiltration values.

The team has plans to enhance the capabilities of Virtual Grower. "Adding plant growth and development models will allow for scheduling and an assessment of plant quality, while improving the realism in heating systems and partitioning of greenhouses would provide more realistic simulation opportunities," they said. "Carbon footprints could be calculated from the existing software's framework, and predictions of plant pest outbreaks and water use could also be folded in, with linkages to the historical weather database already used."

"Continued development will improve the software and allow users to perform baseline analysis of their heating costs, identify areas in their production to improve efficiency, and take some of the guesswork out of energy analysis in greenhouses," Frantz said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Frantz, Jonathan M., Hand, Bryon, Buckingham, Lee, Ghose, Somik. Virtual Grower: Software to Calculate Heating Costs of Greenhouse Production in the United States. HortTechnology, 2010; 20: 778-785 [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "New software calculates heating costs in greenhouse operations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110317141424.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2011, March 17). New software calculates heating costs in greenhouse operations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110317141424.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "New software calculates heating costs in greenhouse operations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110317141424.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Microsoft will reportedly release a smartwatch that works across different mobile platforms, has a two-day battery life and tracks heart rate. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins