A model which allows accurate prediction of energy consumption of a greenhouse is a useful tool for production planning and optimisation of greenhouse components.
To date two types of model have been developed; some very simple models of low precision, others, precise dynamic models unsuitable for employment over long periods and too complex for use in practice.
A theoretical study and measurements at the CERN trial greenhouse have allowed development of a new static model named "HORTICERN", easy to use and as precise as more complex dynamic models.
This paper demonstrates the potential of this model for long-term production planning.
The model gives precise predictions of energy consumption when given greenhouse conditions of use (inside temperatures, dehumidification by ventilation, …) and takes into account local climatic conditions (wind radiative losses to the sky and solar gains), type of greenhouse (cladding, thermal screen …).
The HORTICERN method has been developed for PC use and requires less than 10 seconds for an annual calculation; it is proving a powerful tool for production planning and greenhouse optimisation by research workers, designers and horticultural advisers.