Now, for probably one of the most risky and surprising gardening experiments that we’ve conducted in the subarctic! We asked ourselves the question everyone would like to know the answer to, but was not exactly easy to pursue, at least without significant financial outlay fraught with risk. The question was: Is it cheaper to run grow lights indoors or heat a semi-insulated greenhouse?
This latest video describes our pursuit of this question and the very surprising result we achieved. To be honest, prior to the results, we were absolutely on “team grow lights” as we were all ready using the latest, advanced and most efficient lighting technology we could possibly pursue. We scientifically proved that heating a greenhouse, with just an electric space heater, was actually far more efficient from an energy and space persepctive. It was an illuminating discovery, to say the least. A discovery that has fundamentally altered our subarctic gardening methods for years to come.
We’ve gone several steps above where we’ve been in years past, offering you an actual walkthrough of our greenhouse heating systems and everything that’s involved. This is our “early season” greenhouse setup, how we prep for transitioning from indoors to outdoors these days. Our video explores what we had to do to get our greenhouse “heating ready,” the techniques we leveraged to make it happen and the general processes we used to determine our results. It is hopefully generic enough that you can use the information to apply to your situation. Whether it’s a DIY seedling greenhouse like we talked about earlier this season or a “full blown” actual greenhouse. I hope this video truly does the topic justice as it’s probably one of the most surprising discoveries we’ve uncovered.
In brass tax, here’s how this experiment breaks down, financially. If we decide to heat against 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, our costs to maintain a “plant sustainable environment” in our 120 square foot greenhouse are less than 50 cents a day. It’s much less than that most days of the shoulder season, many times only pennies a day. Comparatively, it costs us about 70 cents a day to use indoor lighting to cover just 12 square foot of space. That’s using the most electrically efficient and cost effective lighting technology available in 2023! So long as we apply “hard limits” on what outdoor temperatures we’re willing to heat against, it’s far more cost efficient to heat a properly insulated greenhouse!
Don’t get us wrong. We’ll continue to use our indoor space for seed germination and early plant growth, it’s the right thing for our plants. But, this topic might explain why we’re so eager to “get outdoors” and why we are seeking those “first available” dates for hardening off our plants. We know our greenhouse not only provides a better environment for raising our semi-mature plants, but it’s also more friendly on the wallet. We 100% feel the impact of having 600 watts of grow lighting hitting our power bill during the early growing season, especially since we’re paying 28 cents per kilowatt hour!
If you haven’t all ready, we’d love it if you gave a sub over on YouTube, it’ll really help us!