A greenhouse (also called a glasshouse) is a building in which plants are grown. These structures range in size from small sheds to industrial-sized buildings. A miniature greenhouse is known as a cold frame.
A greenhouse is a structural building with different types of covering materials, such as a glass or plastic roof and frequently glass or plastic walls; it heats up because incoming visible solar radiation (for which the glass is transparent) from the sun is absorbed by plants, soil, and other things inside the building. Air warmed by the heat from hot interior surfaces is retained in the building by the roof and wall. In addition, the warmed structures and plants inside the greenhouse re-radiate some of their thermal energy in the infrared spectrum, to which glass is partly opaque, so some of this energy is also trapped inside the glasshouse. However, this latter process is a minor player compared with the former (convective) process. Thus, the primary heating mechanism of a greenhouse is convection. This can be demonstrated by opening a small window near the roof of a greenhouse: the temperature drops considerably. This principle is the basis of the autovent automatic cooling system. Thus, the glass used for a greenhouse works as a barrier to air flow, and its effect is to trap energy within the greenhouse. The air that is warmed near the ground is prevented from rising indefinitely and flowing away.
Although heat loss due to thermal conduction through the glass and other building materials occurs, net energy (and therefore temperature) increases inside the greenhouse.
Famous quotes containing the word greenhouse:
“There is not enough exercise in this way of life. I try to make up by active gymnastics before I dress when I get up, by walking rapidly in the lower hall and the greenhouse after each meal for perhaps five to ten minutes, and a good hand rubbing before going to bed. I eat moderately; drink one cup of coffee at breakfast and one cup of tea at lunch and no other stimulant. My health is now, and usually, excellent.”
—Rutherford Birchard Hayes (18221893)