Passive solar design
Ceres greenhouses pair passive solar greenhouse design with an insulated greenhouse and renewable climate control. The result is a super energy efficient greenhouse that can grow abundantly and year-round with little heating or cooling.
Ceres Greenhouses are designed to be integrated with a Ground to Air Heat Transfer (GAHT) system. An advanced climate battery, a GAHT system stores heat in the soil underground, providing year-round climate control using solar energy, natural thermal mass and a few small fans.
Energy-efficient; Naturally abundant
Ever thought of growing your own guava, bananas or avocados? With a Ceres greenhouse you can create an abundant year-round garden right in your backyard, in any climate. We help growers customize a year round greenhouse for a huge range of climates, from Alaska to Arizona.
Products & Services
Greenhouse Design Book
DIY Greenhouse Plans
Take the guess work out of building a year round greenhouse with our standard or custom building plans. These include structural engineering from a licensed engineer, and our proven passive solar greenhouse design. Plans use wood-framing. Materials are locally-sourced and /or shipped to your home.
See how growers created their dream greenhouse using a book, DIY plans or a pre-fabricated kit, with some of these Ceres year round greenhouse projects.
Ceres Residential Greenhouse Plans
- Insulated, wood framed walls with minimum of R-14 insulation
- Water and mold resistant siding on interior and exterior
- Double-pane glass windows on South, East and West (East and West are operable windows)
- Insulated fiberglass door
- Window and door trim
- Triple-wall polycarbonate roof, fastening system (creates water proof seal), and aluminum trim
- Structural Engineering: Structure and roof framing are engineered for 30 lbs / sq. ft. snow load and 130 mph wind load.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your options for building a greenhouse depend on how involved you’d like to be, as well as its size and complexity. Residential solar greenhouses are much like building a shed, with some few important differences in the roofing and other materials. Generally, the options are:
- Design and Build Yourself
Our book, The Year-Round Solar Greenhouse, is a great place to start if you would like to design and build your own greenhouse from scratch. This requires some building experience, and a good bit of initiative. We can also review your design, or create a custom design for you via our consulting services.
- Use Plans and Build Yourself
Ceres DIY engineered greenhouse plans take the guess work out of building a greenhouse. In these cases, you can use our plans – which are already engineered, designed and come with materials lists – and do the work yourself. We recommend having some experience with stick framing / standard construction methods.
- Use Plans and Hire a Local Contractor
If you’d like to be completely hands-off, you can outsource the work to a local contractor. We strongly recommend using our pre-engineered building plans as not many contractors are familiar with greenhouse-specific materials and building methods. We recommend hiring a licensed and insured builder in your area. For select locations we can often help you find a contractor. Just contact us about your project.
Standard models do not include solar panels (photovoltaic / PV systems). Solar panels can be added if you do not want to connect the greenhouse to the grid, or to provide a source of renewable energy. Please see our blog, “Integrating Solar Panels with the greenhouse” for our tips on doing this.
Our greenhouses use passive solar design, making them ‘solar greenhouses’ for short. Passive solar heating is a design philosophy which aims to maximize free, passive heat from the sun, and minimize the use of fossil-fuels. Often called “solar greenhouses” for short, passive solar greenhouses can still use electricity (just as passive solar designed homes may still have everyday appliances). For more on adding electricity to the greenhouse, see our FAQ page.
Yes, we design greenhouses for a range of clients and sizes — residential, small-scale commercial, schools and institutions. We provide custom greenhouse designs, greenhouse engineering and consulting to create the perfect year-round environment you are looking for. To start your greenhouse design, get in touch with us about your project.
There are two options for an off-grid greenhouse:
- Design a passive solar greenhouse. This is a structure that does not use electricity, and is inherently off-grid. Instead of electrical fans, a passive solar greenhouses uses passive vents and thermal storage methods. We work with people on designing passive solar greenhouses, but most of our clients add electricity to the greenhouse for greater climate control. Much more information on passive solar greenhouse design is in our book, The Year-Round Solar Greenhouse, and you can get in touch with us if this your preferred design.
- Add solar panels to the greenhouse. The feasibility of powering the greenhouse with solar photovoltaic (solar PV) panels greatly depends on how you will be growing. With a large electric demand, solar panel systems can get quite expensive. Smaller, cost-effective DIY systems are also possible. We recommend contacting us about your project, and reading more about getting started with integrating solar panels in our blog, 5 Tips for Designing a Solar-powered Greenhouse.