More than 90% of the Dutch greenhouse area is covered with single glass. Energy losses through the covering are high during the heating period (winter) but energy requirements are also high during the cooling period (summer) in the case of semi-closed greenhouses. Until now, light losses of insulating coverings prevented growers from using double glass or plastic film. However, increasing energy prices allow new developments. Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture studied the possibilities to use modern glass coatings to increase light transmission and save energy. Several glass types (standard glass, 90+ glass, low-iron glass) were covered with different anti-reflection coatings from different producers. Double glasses were produced; their optical properties were determined. It was possible to produce double glasses with new coatings having a higher light transmission than traditional single greenhouse glass (83-85% for hemispherical (diffuse) light, compared to 82-83% for traditional single glass) and a k-value of 3.6 W m-2 K-1 (compared to7.6 W m-2 K-1 of a traditional single glass). Other double glasses were produced using a combination of anti-reflection and modern low-emission coatings, reaching an even lower k-value of ˜2.4 W m-2 K-1, however, showing a slight light loss (78.5% for hemispherical (diffuse) light). Calculations of greenhouse climate (temperature, humidity, CO2) and energy consumptions year-round were carried out with a validated dynamic climate model. Additionally the effects on tomato production (dry matter) were calculated for the different prototypes of coated and insulated glass. Double materials show the highest energy saving with 25-33%, depending on the composition but also low-emission coatings on single glass decrease the energy use with 15-20%. Economic calculations with current tomato and energy prices showed that single and double glasses with anti-reflection coating currently have the highest potential.
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