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By: Chris Ahrens
Published: 1981-01-01


This prefabricated greenhouse can be added to the south side of an existing house for under $225.

Sides and top roof sections are prefabricated sandwich sections 6" thick, well insulated using an exterior plywood or "Homosote" paperboard facing.

The 4' X 8' clear panels are covered on both sides with #6S greenhouse polyethylene on a 1" X 2" frame. A light, drop blind of framed styrofoam panels can be added to cover the clear panels when the sun is not shining for additional insulation.

All joints between panels should be caulked or sealed with tape to provide as waterproof a joint as possible.

Reflective side of the fiberglass insulation should be to the interior to provide additional light to the plants. Storage cans of water or rock/bricks painted dull black will provide additional heat storage for sunless periods.

Revised August 1981

ISBN 0-86619-136-4


This Technical Bulletin is one of a series of publications that offer do-it-yourself technology information on a wide variety of subjects.

Technical Bulletins are idea generators, intended not so much to provide a definitive answer as to guide the user's thinking and planning. Premises are sound and testing results are provided, if available.

Users of the information are asked to send us their evaluations and comments based on their experiences. Results are incorporated into subsequent editions, thus providing additional guidelines for adaptation and use in a greater variety of conditions.


An Attached Solar Greenhouse. William F. Yanda and Susan B. Yanda; The Lightening Tree, PO Box 1837, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 USA, 17 pp. Step-by-step instructions for the design, construction, and operation of a solar greenhouse (written in English and Spanish).

Fisher, R., and Yanda, B. The Food and Heat Producing Solar Greenhouse. John Muir Publications, PO Box 613, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 USA, 1979 (revised edition), 161 pp. (Do-it-yourself).

"Greenhouse Issue," Alternative Sources of Energy (36), February/March 1979. The entire issue is devoted to solar greenhouses; includes "Cold Springs Attached Greenhouse," "Greenhouse Designs for North Dakota;" "Greenhouse Vegetables in the North Country;" "Planning a Solar Reliant Greenhouse," and "The Solar Greenhouse in the Rural Community."

"In Conversation: Bill Yanda," Solar Age 2(11):12-16, November 1977.

Nearing, H., and Nearing, S. Building and Using our Sun-Heated Greenhouse. 148 pp. Garden way Publishing Co., Charlotte, Vermont 05445.

The Solar Greenhouse Guide. Ozark Institute, Box 549, Eureka Springs, AR 72632, 8 pp. (Do-it-yourself).

"Sunspace Issue," Rodale's New Shelter 1(1), February 1980. Features five articles on attached greenhouses.

Watt, C. "Building an Attached Solar Greenhouse." Gardening and Outdoor Living (40):98-99, 1979.



Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) is a private, nonprofit, international development organization. Started in 1959 by a group of concerned scientists and engineers, VITA maintains an extensive documentation center and worldwide roster of volunteer technical experts. VITA makes available to individuals and groups in developing countries a variety of information and technical resources aimed at fostering self-sufficiency--needs assessment and program development support; by-mail and on-site consulting services; information systems training. It also publishes a quarterly newsletter and a variety of technical manuals and bulletins.

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