7 Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Tips

7 Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Tips

Passive solar greenhouses are gaining popularity in cold parts of the world as a way of growing food all year round. There are a considerable number of ways to design and build a passive solar greenhouse but a small number of principles that you can use to ensure success. In this video I talk about the 7 main principles that lead to a successful passive solar greenhouse design. They include:

Aspect ratio
Glazing and glazing material
Air movement
and giving your plants access to real soil

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In less than 10 years, Rob & Michelle Avis left Calgary’s oil fields and retooled his engineering career to help clients and students design integrated systems for shelter, energy, water, waste and food, all while supporting local economy and regenerating the land. He’s now leading the next wave of permaculture education, teaching career-changing professionals to become eco-entrepreneurs with successful regenerative businesses. Learn more and connect with Rob & Michelle at




What do you think?


Written by Aleksandar

Video MakerContent AuthorYears Of Membership


  1. great video brother, You truly are a smart man.
    You have so much knowledge in your field and a true expert.
    I challenge you to produce a video and a green house that anyone can do on the cheapest way possible. that can be heated and cooled all year around in Canada, so the world will be a better place

  2. Great information here, only thing i would remarke, is that the specific heat capacity is always per unit mass, most of the times j (joule) as unit for thermal energy, kg as unit for mass and k(kelvin) as unit temperature above absolut zero.
    That means you cant meaningfully compare the specific heat capacity, without dividing by an objects mean density, the density of water for example is much less, than that of stone or concrete, therefore its better specific heat capacity compared to those is not as big as it appears, when space is the limiting factor.

  3. Hi great video. Looking at doing one or more of these. Like to know why Curtis stone has a problem with the heat. There is a person in Alaska that has some good information on energy an how things work. Not sure why he said European is way ahead of us in this technology. With so much good to be done for people an there Health.

  4. Great information except your comment of placing plants into the subsoil, many greenhouses are built upon concrete, or are rent situations and the landlords don’t want the subsoils disturbed. You can easy stay organic and grow in containers, beds or whatever medium you prefer ? Ie aquaponics, hydroponics on and on. Most who take on building a greenhouse should have that decided “befor” they start!!! From my personal observations using “inground” growing techniques takes up far more real estate inside the greenhouse. Anyway for what it’s worth my family has farmed hundreds of acres for now third generation in Arizona. Cheers…

  5. Great video, and thank you for sharing.
    I'm on Long Island Zone 7A, and in the planning stages of my approx 12×16 GH build for this year.
    What are your thoughts on Solexx 5MM Glazing?
    Thanks again!

  6. a lot of plumbers would argue with your "air pruning" idea as they have to replace pipes with roots due to plants finding water and unless i'm mistaken they would find condensate moisture in those pipes used for heating and cooling.

  7. Hey great video! At about 36:14 in the video you say that "R2 is a tenth of R20". I just wanted to clarify that the effectiveness of insulation with respect to R-value is not linear, so in terms of measuring heat loss, R2 is much less effective than a tenth of R20. It's probably closer to R2 being 50x less insulating than R20.

  8. hi rob, great video. I am designing a passive solar greenhouse on my allotment in Scotland. your videos and website have been a great help. I was looking up insulation r values. my first thought as a carpenter was to use kingspan, celotex or xtratherm rigid foam board with foil covering as it's the best product we use on all new houses and is excellent at retaining heat. After looking up the technical specs, it's r value is 4.5m2k/w for 4 inches or 100mm thick but to get an r value of 20 I would need 16 inch thick walls. that doesn't seem right, your walls don't look that thick. what type of insulation do you use or recomend?



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