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Old 01-08-2017, 12:21 PM
shillamus shillamus is offline
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G,

A friend shared this on facebook and I thought of you

A Wallipini looks like a cool project.. I would have a very hard time keeping a hole in the ground dry around here...


http://www.ecowatch.com/300-undergro...&ts=1467011455

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Old 01-08-2017, 07:40 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello shillamus,
Thank you for the link. It's similar in concept to other greenhouses I'm familiar with, however I haven't seen a greenhouse quite like that yet where the entire greenhouse except the roof is underground. At 13,000-14,000 feet it can get very cold especially at night. The ground is a great insulator. I agree there are many areas where ground water would be a major problem, including areas with permafrost. So it really depends on the location.

I live in Arizona and the summer heat is my biggest problem. The ground gives good cooling and I do have plans to build something similar. Just not so deep. It's fairly common for greenhouses to be partially underground. That helps it keep cool during summer, and insulate it during winter. But still allows light through the sidewalls. The double wall greenhouse glazing has a air pocket that circulated air between the layers to insulate while allowing light through. The same way double pain glass windows insulate your house from outside temps.

I attached some drawings of the greenhouse I plan to build. It will be dug in 2-3 feet deep. That will give good cooling while still letting in lots of light to he plants. It will also have double wall greenhouse glazing to insulate the top as much as possible. I also plan to build a subterranean cooling system to replace air conditioning.

With any greenhouse you need water drainage, and with a dug in greenhouse water drainage can be a problem. But there are a few ways to work it out. You don't ant to just have a dirt floor because you will be trammeling around in mud. Using a 4-6 inch layer of crushed rock will allow water to drain while keeping you above the mud. However if you need a more solid floor you could build a composite decking floor above the crushed rock. That will allow water to drain through the slats, but give you solid footing. Composite decking is more expensive than pressure treated wood, but it's more durable, wont absorb water, and is maintenance free. If it's a large greenhouse, building composite deck floor would be very expensive. So if you don't want to use crushed rock, a cement floor would be much cheaper than a deck floor. But cement wont allow water to pass through, in which case you could build a sump pump system like they use in basements.

Also in many cold areas people will build a dug in greenhouse that's attached to the house on the side facing the sun. The house provides insulation along that wall while the greenhouse absorbs the sun's heat through the greenhouse glazing. I attached a simple drawing of one of these too.
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Old 01-14-2017, 02:03 PM
shillamus shillamus is offline
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Default It does rain there occassionally?

How do you keep the floor dry?? Sump pump?? Obviously I should have looked at the images first LOL

Cool!

I saw this fancy indoor garden and wanted to share it here..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84zh7XL15n8

Last edited by shillamus; 01-14-2017 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 01-14-2017, 07:45 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello shillamus,
Yes, water drainage is what I was trying to illustrate in the second and third drawing. When it's below grade there are two ways to drain water. One, draining it right into the soil/ground. Two, using a sump pump. The simplest and cheapest floor is crushed rock. A 2-4 inch layer of crushed rock will allow water to pass through right into the ground, while still keeping your feet out of the mud and keeping your feet dry as you walk around on it. Crushed rock is cheap, and depending on the color and type of the rock generally range in price from around $8 to about $24 a ton. Our rock yard will deliver it for free if you buy 8 ton's or more. Both our front and back yard are covered in decorative crushed rock. It's very common here in the Arizona desert.

While crushed rock will keep your feet out of the mud and keep your feet dry even when your using the hose, it's not a totally stable and solid surface. So if you have things like tables or racks that you want a solid footing for, you can rake the rock out of the way and set them on the ground. Then rake the rock back. That way they are setting on dirt, but surrounded by the crushed rock. That works well, but over time if the ground is wet and becomes muddy/soft under the footing a lot, the weight of the tables and racks will cause them to sink, thus lean/tilt.

So if you want a more solid footing you may want to consider using decking. Just like an outdoor deck, it will give solid footing while allowing water to pass through the slats. Again keeping your feet dry and out of the mud. But won't allow the tables and racks to be sitting on the dirt that can get soft when wet. Composite decking is more expensive than wood decking, but it's maintenance free and will never rot. So it's better for longevity, as well as saves you from having to move everything out of the greenhouse to do regular maintenance.

Cement flooring is cheaper than composite decking, but won't allow excess water to pass through. So if you want to have a cement floor, you need to install floor drains and a sump pump system. You can even run sink drains into the sump pump.

The rotating hydro systems have been around for quite a while, at least a decade. I'm not saying it is, but that video reads like a commercial. Especially in regards to the led lights they were using. They claimed that the LED used less electricity and produced little to no heat. Neither claims are true. They said it was a 504 watt light, but used 420 watts. Now that may very well be true, LED's often consume less wattage than advertised. In reality your getting short changed when you don't get the wattage the light advertises. But even with 420 watts, that light isn't able to provide much sq footage (coverage area) for the amount of electricity used.

400 watts of HID lighting would be able to do the same thing, and even give more coverage area. So what electricity are you saving? Nothing. You could have even replaced the LED lights with eight 4 foot T5 florescent lights (432 total watts) and been able to accomplish the same thing. So again I ask, what electricity are you saving? None. Granted with Florescent lights the actual energy consumption will be about 10% higher because of the ballast, so the actual energy consumption for 8, 54 watt bulbs will be more like 475 watts total. In that scenario the LED's are using 55 watts less. Almost the exact wattage of one of the florescent bulbs.

In reality you can easily use 7 T5 bulbs instead of 8, and your back to the same electrical costs. But Lets say for the sake of argument that you save 55 watts using the the LED's over florescent lights. Running those lights for 18 hours a day, those 55 watts less are only saving you 10 cents a day, that's a total savings of $3 a month. Vastly different than the manufacture wants you to believe. Now I don't know how much that LED light costs, but you can get a 4 foot twin bulb light fixture with the bulbs for about $40. Times 4= $160. I'd bet the LED used cost more than twice that. With a whopping cost savings $3 a month it will take a long, long, long time to break even in cost savings compared to the much higher equipment cost. That's just compared to florescent lighting. Compared to HID lighting there won't be any cost savings, in fact the LED's would cost more in electricity.

As for the claim the LED's produce little to no heat, again that's simply not true. The LED' bulbs themselves produce little to no heat, the heat is emitted/released by the circuitry. A watt is not only a measurement of electricity, but a measurement of heat as well. LED's use a internal fan to cool off the circuitry. A 400 watt LED light is still putting out 400 watts of heat, it's just doing it out the back end where the circuitry is, not through the bulbs themselves. By saying that LED's produce little to no heat their misleading consumers.

The rotating Hydro system is nothing more than either a drip or flood and drain system depending on how their water system flows. The rotating doesn't really do anything for the plants. While it looks neat, the motor needed to do the rotating is just wasted electricity and has to run 24/7. The rotating system doesn't do anything to make the space more productive either. You can easily grow the same amount of plants with the same footprint and height on stationary shelves. In reality the rotating action is only needed to evenly water the plants. However if you turn the system on the side and water from the top, there is no need to use electricity to rotate it. Anyhow I agree it's fancy. but fancy means more complicated and expensive, not necessarily more productive or better. So Ive never been impressed with rotating systems. You can't even grow taller plants with them like tomatoes or peppers, all you can really grow with them is different varieties of lettuces and micro greens.
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Old 01-15-2017, 02:59 PM
shillamus shillamus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello shillamus,
Yes, water drainage is what I was trying to illustrate in the second and third drawing. When it's below grade there are two ways to drain water. One, draining it right into the soil/ground. Two, using a sump pump. The simplest and cheapest floor is crushed rock. A 2-4 inch layer of crushed rock will allow water to pass through right into the ground, while still keeping your feet out of the mud and keeping your feet dry as you walk around on it. Crushed rock is cheap, and depending on the color and type of the rock generally range in price from around $8 to about $24 a ton. Our rock yard will deliver it for free if you buy 8 ton's or more. Both our front and back yard are covered in decorative crushed rock. It's very common here in the Arizona desert.

While crushed rock will keep your feet out of the mud and keep your feet dry even when your using the hose, it's not a totally stable and solid surface. So if you have things like tables or racks that you want a solid footing for, you can rake the rock out of the way and set them on the ground. Then rake the rock back. That way they are setting on dirt, but surrounded by the crushed rock. That works well, but over time if the ground is wet and becomes muddy/soft under the footing a lot, the weight of the tables and racks will cause them to sink, thus lean/tilt.

So if you want a more solid footing you may want to consider using decking. Just like an outdoor deck, it will give solid footing while allowing water to pass through the slats. Again keeping your feet dry and out of the mud. But won't allow the tables and racks to be sitting on the dirt that can get soft when wet. Composite decking is more expensive than wood decking, but it's maintenance free and will never rot. So it's better for longevity, as well as saves you from having to move everything out of the greenhouse to do regular maintenance.

Cement flooring is cheaper than composite decking, but won't allow excess water to pass through. So if you want to have a cement floor, you need to install floor drains and a sump pump system. You can even run sink drains into the sump pump.

The rotating hydro systems have been around for quite a while, at least a decade. I'm not saying it is, but that video reads like a commercial. Especially in regards to the LED lights they were using. They claimed that the LED used less electricity and produced little to no heat. Neither claims are true. They said it was a 504 watt light, but used 420 watts. Now that may very well be true, LED's often consume less wattage than advertised. In reality your getting short changed when you don't get the wattage the light advertises. But even with 420 watts, that light isn't able to provide much sq footage (coverage area) for the amount of electricity used.

400 watts of HID lighting would be able to do the same thing, and even give more coverage area. So what electricity are you saving? Nothing. You could have even replaced the LED lights with eight 4 foot T5 florescent lights (432 total watts) and been able to accomplish the same thing. So again I ask, what electricity are you saving? None. Granted with Florescent lights the actual energy consumption will be about 10% higher because of the ballast, so the actual energy consumption for 8, 54 watt bulbs will be more like 475 watts total. In that scenario the LED's are using 55 watts less. Almost the exact wattage of one of the florescent bulbs.

In reality you can easily use 7 T5 bulbs instead of 8, and your back to the same electrical costs. But Lets say for the sake of argument that you save 55 watts using the the LED's over florescent lights. Running those lights for 18 hours a day, those 55 watts less are only saving you 10 cents a day, that's a total savings of $3 a month. Vastly different than the manufacture wants you to believe. Now I don't know how much that LED light costs, but you can get a 4 foot twin bulb light fixture with the bulbs for about $40. Times 4= $160. I'd bet the LED used cost more than twice that. With a whopping cost savings $3 a month it will take a long, long, long time to break even in cost savings compared to the much higher equipment cost. That's just compared to florescent lighting. Compared to HID lighting there won't be any cost savings, in fact the LED's would cost more in electricity.

As for the claim the LED's produce little to no heat, again that's simply not true. The LED' bulbs themselves produce little to no heat, the heat is emitted/released by the circuitry. A watt is not only a measurement of electricity, but a measurement of heat as well. LED's use a internal fan to cool off the circuitry. A 400 watt LED light is still putting out 400 watts of heat, it's just doing it out the back end where the circuitry is, not through the bulbs themselves. By saying that LED's produce little to no heat their misleading consumers.

The rotating Hydro system is nothing more than either a drip or flood and drain system depending on how their water system flows. The rotating doesn't really do anything for the plants. While it looks neat, the motor needed to do the rotating is just wasted electricity and has to run 24/7. The rotating system doesn't do anything to make the space more productive either. You can easily grow the same amount of plants with the same footprint and height on stationary shelves. In reality the rotating action is only needed to evenly water the plants. However if you turn the system on the side and water from the top, there is no need to use electricity to rotate it. Anyhow I agree it's fancy. but fancy means more complicated and expensive, not necessarily more productive or better. So Ive never been impressed with rotating systems. You can't even grow taller plants with them like tomatoes or peppers, all you can really grow with them is different varieties of lettuces and micro greens.

Yeah I thought it more a novelty.. If you had a choice between LED shoplights and flourescent shop lights which would you pick.. HID eat a lot of electricity and cost a lot.. you seem to think they are effective?

LED's are attractive because of long life.. but I have not had much luck with the LED housebulbs lasting after plopping down 10-15$ for one.. The last two "100W" I bought seem to be doing very well and they were less than 10$.. If I could find the old silver refelctors cheap I would put up some light sockets with these bubs,,

I do know growers that are all hyped up on spectrum.. I can't afford them.. I helped my associates in California with their indoor medical grow. I did all the electrical to install 12 Solarstorm 880 light fixtures. They bought 20$K in lighting fixtures

https://californialightworks.com/pro...lar-storm-880/

The young growers insisted it had to be that light fixture even though there were other grow lights at half the cost and power that were effective. I think it was overdone. But it works at 80 amps an hour and the electrical bill is astronomical.


Last edited by shillamus; 01-15-2017 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 01-15-2017, 08:16 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello shillamus,


Quote:
If you had a choice between LED shoplights and flourescent shop lights which would you pick..
First I would have to research the manufacture of the LED lights to see if they produce quality lights for growing plants, otherwise no mater now much you spend on them it's a waste of money. But assuming the lights are quality lights I would still have to run the numbers to decide. That includes calculating the sq footage of coverage area I need lighting for, how many lights I need to cover it, as well as comparing equipment and electrical costs. But as of yet I haven't found any quality LED lighting that I consider cost effective. I would have to break even within one year for me to consider it cost effective. By break even I mean make back the extra money spent on higher equipment costs within one year from the electrical cost savings. So that would mean florescent lighting would be my preferred choice. That is unless I need a lot of coverage area, then I would go with multiple low wattage HID lighting. At least until such time as the cost of LED lighting comes down enough to be cost effective.

Quote:
HID eat a lot of electricity and cost a lot.. you seem to think they are effective?
HID lighting is effective, their the industry standard for commercial growers. Commercial growers wouldn't use them if they weren't effective. As for eating up a lot of electricity, a watt is a watt, is a watt. 400 watts of LED, 400 watts of florescent, and 400 watts of HID all cost EXACTLY the same in electricity to run. Watts are how the electric company charges you for electricity. Your electric bill will tell you exactly how much your paying per kilowatt hour. A kilowatt hour is 1,000 watts being used for 1 hour. As for HID costing a lot, I'm not saying it's cheap, but when you need more coverage area, and you start adding up the cost of all the florescent light fixtures you would need to cover the same area HID will cover, the costs are about the same or cheaper using HID.

By law your rate will be on your electric bill. Make sure you include the surcharges. The surcharge are is the extra amount they charge when you go beyond the allotted usage. Same way your cell phone company charges a higher rate when you use more minutes than your plan allows. They don't cut your service off, they just make you pay a higher rate at that point. If you don't have your electric bill handy, or don't want to go to the trouble to do all that, you can just estimate electrical costs using the national average of 10 cents per kilowatt hour. That's pretty much what I do anyway. Last I checked we were paying 9.3 cents per kilowatt hour (including surcharges) so the difference is negligible for me. Also when I do comparisons for other people or posting I have to use the national average since I don't know what everyone elses rate is.

Once you know how much your paying per kilowatt hour (or just use the national average), it's easy to calculate your electrical costs using a electrical cost calculator. Just fill in how much your paying, how many watts the device is, and how long you plan to run it each day. Click "calculate" and the next window will tell you how much that will cost you to run daily. Just multiply that by 30 to get the monthly costs. Easy smsheasy.

Here is an example of a cost comparison I did recently back in October. Ironically it's comparing LED tube shop lights to florescent lighting just like your question. Here the exact LED T5 tube lights I'm referring to in the comparison, as well as the 4 foot T5 florescent lights. And this comparison is for growing lettuce with a the coverage area of 8 sq feet. The typical coverage area of four 4 foot T5 bulbs.

T5 florescent
4 foot twin bulb florescent light fixture with bulbs $40
$40x2= $80
216 total watts (54 ea bulb)

T5 LED's
4 foot twin bulb florescent light fixture with bulbs $40 (you don't need the bulbs because you will be using the LED tubes instead, but they come with the fixture)
$40x2= $80
LED T5 bulbs $70 each (doesn't include shipping)
$70x4= $280
120 total watts (30 ea bulb)

That's a $280 equipment cost difference. (and doesn't include shipping)

Electrical costs calculated using the national average of 10 cents per kilowatt hr

Florescent
216 watts running 18 hours a day
Daily $0.39
Monthly $11.70

T5 LED
120 watts running 18 hours a day
Daily $0.22
Monthly $6.60

That's a $5.10 difference in electrical cost per month

$280 divided by $5.10= 54.9. So it will take 54.9 months to break even in electrical costs from the higher equipment costs. 54 months is 4.5 years. It will take nearly 5 years just to break even before you can actually start saving any money.

Even if you are willing to wait 4.5 years before you start saving any money, and that is better than most LED lighting. Typical break even point is between 5 and 10 years. I find it ironic that the company has a 5 year warranty which tells me that's probably about the life span of the bulbs themselves. So just when you are about to start actually saving money, you will probably have to buy new bulbs and wait another 4.5 years to break even again. If the bulbs wear out before the 5 years, they wont replace them with new bulbs, they will just prorate them and you wont get hardly any money back or towards new bulbs anyway.

Granted as typical with LED lighting the actual wattage consumed was lower than the rated wattage, but the difference wasn't significant enough to make a big difference. The total difference was 17 watts, amounting to 3 cents a day in electricity, or $0.90 a month, $10.95 a year. That would only shorten the break even point closer to 4 years instead of 4.5 years.

Quote:
If I could find the old silver refelctors cheap I would put up some light sockets with these bubs
You can easily make your own light reflectors, you don't have to buy them.

Ah yes, pot growers. I have nothing against pot growers but the fact is they simply don't have to care about being cost effective/economical. When your getting $1,000 to $2,000 a pound for your product you don't have to care about being cost efficient. When your making that kind of money you can throw money around like Scareface.

LED's have the big issue of a high lumen drop off rate beyond 2 feet. But you can get around this issue by over saturation. Sure those LED's in the picture are much higher than 2 feet from the plants, but the room is over saturated with light. When you have light fixtures so close to each other the overlapping of the lights will reduce the lumens/par drop of beyond 2 feet. I attached an illustration to help explain what I mean. The close proximity of the light fixtures to one another combined with the high wattage (500-700 watts) of each light results in being able to get good coverage throughout the entire room due to over saturation.

But is it cost effective and economical? No, you can accomplish the same coverage using HID far cheaper. Both in equipment costs as well as in electrical costs. But again when you can get $1,000 to $2,000 a pound for your product, cost isn't an issue. If you were growing other plants like tomatoes or peppers you would go bankrupt in no time. Even if you got the LED equipment for free, you would still go bankrupt on the electrical costs. So while LED lighting is a viable option when cost isn't an issue, growing fruits and vegetables is a completely different story.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-16-2017 at 05:00 AM.
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Old 01-17-2017, 09:57 PM
shillamus shillamus is offline
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Default Cost Effective??

Had to share this one here GPS..

Thanks for the incredible info on lights above. I will get back to it. It is late.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_WuJ9P1u-k


Last edited by shillamus; 01-17-2017 at 10:00 PM.
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