Toward Sustainable Agriculture: Net-Houses Instead of Greenhouses for Saving Energy and Water in Arid Regions
In arid regions, limitation of protected cultivations in greenhouses is mainly due to the overheating of the inside air during hot and long summer seasons. The greenhouse accumulates around 10 MJ m-2 of heat energy per day; this requires an expensive, energy consuming cooling system to remove the heat and to achieve favorable conditions for crop growth. Cooling greenhouses are facing several challenges in arid regions due to the excessive solar irradiance, extremely high ambient air temperature, as well as water scarcity and salinity. A new concept (net-house) as a naturally-ventilated alternative agricultural structure, covered with low-cost, plastic nets was introduced. The proposed net-house does not require cooling and ventilation systems, and provides a uniform distribution of solar radiation and a suitable environment for crop growth and the production costs will be significantly decreased.
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