Photon Modular Greenhouses

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Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 8: Phase 1 Completed, Ready for Sensors & Wifi Control System

Phase 1 Completed, Ready for Sensors & Wifi Control System greenhouse-construction-part-8-phase1-complete

GrowerNode™: Web Enabled Control & Sensing for Gardens & Greenhouses

GrowerNode™ Greenhouse Construction: 8x12 'The Islander'

GrowerNode™ is our garden and greenhouse sensing and environmental control system. It’s web browser based for control and sensing of field operation, garden and greenhouses. We are using The 'Islander' is our greenhouse design and perfect to use as a demonstration project.

The previous articles document the building of the GowerNode™ greenhouse demonstration project to get it to this point. Pictured below, Andy checks out the result of his work under Stew's supervision. Both of them can be very proud of their heard work to get the basic structure up before the bad winter weather rolls in.

phase 1: wifi web enabled greenhouse complete

The ‘Islander’ greenhouse is all under wrap now while we prepare Phase 2, in which we will talk more about the set-up of the different systems we will be installing to get this project up and running on the Internet. It won’t be long until you will be able to monitor the operation of this unit from the comfort of your very own home. Stay tuned for more exciting innovations from us! (*note all the pull strings in the picture; they will be used to pull sensors and wiring through the walls, floor and ceiling).

If you are interested in having one of these yourself, please contact us at the construction arm of our company:

Photon Modular Greenhouses

GrowerNode™ Greenhouse Construction Index (The Islander):

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 1: Introduction

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 2: Foundation Layout

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 3: Foundation Concrete Footing

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 4: Foundation Pier Column Setup

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 5: Bubble Wrap Insulation: Floor Modules

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 6: Framing: Bubble Wrap vs Glass Walls

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 7: Roof Module Installation

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 8: Phase 1 Completed, Ready for Sensors & Wifi Control System (you are here)

 

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 6: Framing the Structure for Bubble Wrap vs Glass Walls

Greenhouse Construction: The Islander: Framing the Structure for Bubble Wrap vs Glass Walls greenhouse-construction-part-6-framing-bubble-wrap-vs-glass

Sensing for Gardens & Greenhouses

GrowerNode™ Greenhouse Construction: 8x12 'The Islander'

GrowerNode™ is our garden and greenhouse sensing and environmental control system. It’s web browser based for control and sensing of field operation, garden and greenhouses. We are using The 'Islander' as our greenhouse design and perfect to use as a demonstration project.

In Part 5, we showed details of the main girder construction and floor modules, Part 6 will cover the details of the framing for the transparent walls made with bubble-wrap.

using bubble wrap pseudo glass walls and insulation, framing has started

We rushed to build the rain tent when the weather suddenly turned, so the pictures are a little more difficult to take. The whole structure is made out of spruce, which deforms and twists if it gets wet, so it is important to protect it from rain before it gets a coat of sealant, whether stain or paint. Safely protected by our impromptu tent structure, the framing has begun with fervor.

We used spruce for this unit because it’s lightweight, and we got a good price on timber that had been destroyed by the pine beetle infestation, so it has an eco-friendly aspect to it. The trees would just become detritus if they were left in the forest, and the bluish stain left by the infestation actually adds some charm to the look of the wood. Our actual production units will probably be made with fir because of its superior strength and ability to withstand moisture.

Another important aspect of this method of construction that you really can't see in these pictures is the modular system that we have made. The floor, walls and roof are all made with easy to handle modules that can be readily put together with screws or nails. We prefer screws as they are stronger and can be taken apart easily if you want to change something (there isn't actually a single nail in this entire project).


the building is now level and will be set at an angle for proper drainage

Before we started on the framing, we did one final check on the floor alignment and it all looks great. When the project is finished, we will use the beam level adjusters to put a slight slope on the greenhouse to aid in drainage for spills and floor washing, etc. Then we'll put blocks on the top of the piers to lock it in place for good.

GrowerNode™ Greenhouse Construction Index (The Islander):

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 1: Introduction

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 2: Foundation Layout

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 3: Foundation Concrete Footing

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 4: Foundation Pier Column Setup

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 5: Bubble Wrap Insulation: Floor Modules

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 6: Framing: Bubble Wrap vs Glass Walls (you are here)

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 7: Roof Module Installation

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 8: Phase 1 Completed, Ready for Sensors & Wifi Control System


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Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 7: Roof Module Installation

 

Greenhouse Construction: The Islander-Roof Module Installation greenhouse-construction-part-7-roof-module-installation

GrowerNode™: Web Enabled Control & Sensing for Gardens & Greenhouses

GrowerNode™ Greenhouse Construction: 8x12 'The Islander'

GrowerNode™ is our garden and greenhouse sensing and environmental control system. It’s web browser based for control and sensing of field operation, garden and greenhouses. We are using The 'Islander' is our greenhouse design and perfect to use as a demonstration project.

In Part 6, we looked at more details of the wall framing construction; you can see the finished result in the following pictures, with siding on the walls that don't get much sun. Part 7 is about the installation of the roof modules.

the main 2x6 roof beams form our upper skylight opening

The modular design of our greenhouse system is perfect for DIY (do it yourself) construction, but it also makes it really simple for our crew to construct these when a client wants a turnkey operation. In the above picture, Stew makes the last adjustments to the double 2x6 roof beam which also encloses the large opening skylight that captures a lot of photons (light particles).

The roof construction can be on the tricky side as it is high up and would normally require someone to be up on the roof, which is always a dangerous place to be. With our modular system, each roof section is light enough to be pulled into position by two people safely on the ground. The final securing can be done from a short step ladder, and there is no need to have someone on the roof at all.

The sheathed gable end and double 2x6 roof beams give support for the roof sections, securing it to the structure. You can see the sheathing in place on the gable end, which sits above the doorway in the end wall.


gable ended framing of modular roof construction

The greenhouse modular roof system uses double 2x4 on 24" centers and it’s very sturdy. It doesn’t need any internal webbing or support, allowing the flow of hot air to escape through the opening skylight in the warmer months. In the following picture, Andy finishes off a roof module by stapling the bubble wrap insulation in between the rafters. In this instance, we used 2x4 set on 16" centers, but we later changed to double 2x4 on 24" centers to make it even more sturdy.

roof module has bubble wrap insulation stapled into it

Next, the greenhouse roof module is brought to the back wall and placed upright, with a rope attached to the frame. One person can lift it up from the back while the other person pulls it into place from the front. It goes up with ease, put into final position and locked down from the inside with no need for someone on the roof. Pictured below, you can see it up against the back wall, with the rope in place, ready to be raised.

greenhouse roof module is ready for easy lifting into place from the ground

In just a few hours, we had 3 of the 4 modules in place because they go up fast! One more to go, and then we don't have to worry about the rain anymore. Check out the end result on the next page in this series.

greenhouse roof put nicely in their proper place

GrowerNode™ Greenhouse Construction Index (The Islander):

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 1: Introduction

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 2: Foundation Layout

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 3: Foundation Concrete Footing

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 4: Foundation Pier Column Setup

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 5: Bubble Wrap Insulation: Floor Modules

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 6: Framing: Bubble Wrap vs Glass Walls

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 7: Roof Module Installation (you are here)

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 8: Phase 1 Completed, Ready for Sensors & Wifi Control System

 

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 5: Bubble Wrap Insulation re Floor Joist Modules

Greenhouse Construction: The Islander- Bubble Wrap Insulation re Floor Joist Modules greenhouse-construction-part-5-floor-joists-with-bubble-wrap

GrowerNode™: Web Enabled Control & Sensing for Gardens & Greenhouses

GrowerNode™ Greenhouse Construction: 8x12 'The Islander'

GrowerNode™ is our garden and greenhouse sensing and environmental control system. It’s web browser based for control and sensing of field operation, garden and greenhouses. We are using The 'Islander' is our greenhouse design and perfect to use as a demonstration project.

In Part 4, we showed details of the concrete pour for the foundation pier footings; Part 5 will go over the details of the main girder construction and floor modules.

floor joists placed on main girders

Pictured above, the first floor joists are placed roughly to get an idea of where they will be. The plan is to make 4x8 floor modules with plywood, and have them be insulated with bubble wrap. Even though OSB strand board is cheaper, we used plywood for the construction, because of water concerns. OSB hates the water, so we will make this structure entirely with plywood for siding, flooring and roofing. The lower grade plywood isn't much more expensive but it should be sealed and painted before you get it wet.


2x6 bolted extensions stiffen main girders

The ‘Islander’ design calls for extra 2x6 support beams to be added to the main girders, after the adjustment saddle has been secured to the girders. Pictured above, you can see how we also extended the main beams by a foot.


two bolted 2x6 extend the main girders

We used two eight foot 2x6 stiffeners, for an overall girder length of 16'. This adds a foot to the entry deck and makes a one foot rear storage deck. Support for these extensions will be additionally strengthened by the angled beams secured to the embedded bolts in the foundation piers.


main girder bolted extension additional view

Here we are showing the main girder beam extension, and the 3/8" galvanized through-bolts that hold all three 2x6 beam components together nice and snug.


modules for floor joist get started

The supporting foundation structure is pretty well completed. Next is the construction of the floor modules with bubble wrap insulation. An integral design plan was the removable 2x6 blocking that seals the floor at either end of the insulated floorboards. They will be sealed up tight to lessen any thermal loss, but they can also be opened later on if we want to add something into the floor (insulation, piping, conduit, etc.).


floor joist modules get assembled off site

Andy and Stew have just about finished up a floor module, with under-sheathing attached, flipping it to carry it over and lay on the structural beams, ready for attaching the plywood flooring. The monsoon will be arriving shortly, and it is nice to be able to make these off-site in a warm and dry area. We used 3/8" sheathing underneath, and the modules have 1/2" plywood on 16" centers (roughly) for the main flooring. We appreciate not having to crawl under the greenhouse to try and fasten the under-sheathing.


the floor joist modules get started

We installed some plastic tubing for running sensor wires and control lines before we fill the floor cavity with bubble wrap. We used and adequate and inexpensive indoor vacuum tube piping for this purpose, and put a pull string through it. It’s perfect for carrying low voltage sensor and control signals for motors, actuators and valve control. There will be one conduit at each end wall and one in the middle, although that can be changed anytime because of the removable blocking that gives us access inside the sealed floor module.


insulation is made from industrial bubble wrap and laid in the cavity of the sealed floor

Here Stew inspects the final assembly prior to the 1/2" flooring going on. We used 2 layers of 'large bubble' industrial grade bubble wrap for insulation. It is affordable, relatively non-toxic (compared to handling fiberglass) and simple to adjust and just a few staples from an ordinary staple gun hold it in place. If you have kids, we don't recommend using this as it is way too much fun popping these big bubbles!


floor is complete as we rush to set up a rain tent

Pictured above is the completed floor, and as you can see, we had to tarp it immediately and set up a tent to protect it from a sudden cloudburst and drenching monsoon.

GrowerNode™ Greenhouse Construction Index (The Islander):

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 1: Introduction

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 2: Foundation Layout

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 3: Foundation Concrete Footing

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 4: Foundation Pier Column Setup

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 5: Bubble Wrap Insulation: Floor Modules (you are here)

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 6: Framing: Bubble Wrap vs Glass Walls

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 7: Roof Module Installation

Design Build Modular Greenhouse: Part 8: Phase 1 Completed, Ready for Sensors & Wifi Control System

 

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