Per the SSC website, "The installation of energy/shade curtains in the plant sciences laboratory greenhouses will decrease energy usage needed for heating and cooling, increase natural light quality, decrease the use of high intensity supplemental
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Plant Sciences Window Shades (Completed)
Energy shade curtains have many benefits for greenhouses including optimization of natural light reaching the crop canopy and reductions in heating inputs and electricity for cooling equipment and lighting.
Shades reduce heat from the sun, and thereby reduce the energy needs for temperature control. These shades replace the need for seasonal soaping of the windows. Cost avoidance accrues to the department. This project was funded by the Student Sustainability Committee.
The Energy Shade Curtain Systems provide shading and heat retention. Curtains are driven open and closed by a motorized (gear drive) system governed by commands from a controller. Commands are set to shade based on solar energy and run to a percentage closed based on total run time (open close). Solar energy information is relayed controller from an outdoor solar energy (radiation) sensor perched high outside above greenhouses. Commands also close curtains when outdoor temperature reach a specific low temp outside. For instance, when temps drop below 55F at night, curtains close to help retain perimeter heat down on plant canopy. This helps minimize steam usage.
As explained above, the system is driven by a motorized gear drive system. The motor is sited inline a drive shaft which when activated spins either left or right . Airline cable is spun around drive shaft and through a series of pullies which makes its way to a clamp on leading edge of curtains. As curtains open, the drive shaft activates releasing cable from one side of shaft, pulling curtain open, and landing cable on adjacent side of drive shaft. Opposite for closing.
For energy retention, there is a specialized fabric material that acts as a gasket around edges of curtain when drawn closed. These “gaskets” are stationary. For shading, curtains can be procured to shade to a given percent.