The Most Efficient Solar Greenhouse Design

The Growing Dome® uses both active and passive solar technology to create a stable and energy-efficient year-round growing environment.

Solar Greenhouse closeup with flowers

The geodesic dome is the most efficient shape for a passive solar greenhouse

The spherical surface of the Growing Dome® geodesic passive solar greenhouse allows for even heat gain as it tracks the sun throughout the day. A rectangular greenhouse has a large flat south-facing area allowing a larger amount of sunlight to come in at mid-day. But in the early morning and late afternoon the light input is negligible. Plants, like people, love early morning sun! It’s like a fresh cup of coffee.

Illustration demonstrating two types of Passive Solar Greenhouses

The Growing Dome geodesic shape has the added benefit of withstanding extreme weather like wind, snow and hail. Flat panels on a rectangular greenhouse are very susceptible to wind and hail damage.

Passive Solar Greenhouse

Passive solar means that we are using the energy from the sun to directly heat the greenhouse. The key is the high-quality polycarbonate glazing. We offer a multi-wall (16mm) polycarbonate glazing with an R-Value of 2.8 and a twin-wall (8mm) polycarbonate glazing with an R-value of 1.7. The clear, translucent covering allows 65% (16mm) to 81% (8mm) light transmission, which is perfect for growing. Glass panels that allow 90% light transmission can burn your plants when they get direct sunlight.

The polycarbonate panels resist breakdown by ultraviolet light and harsh weather impacts, like hail. The greenhouse polycarbonate glazing has a life expectancy of over 20 years and comes with a 10-year pro-rated warranty by the manufacturer against yellowing and hail damage. You and your plants will love the soft diffused light inside your Growing Dome greenhouse.

solar greenhouse design
Inside a passive solar greenhouse

Active Solar Components

The Growing Dome Solar Greenhouse Kit also comes with photovoltaic panels to use direct solar energy to power the ventilation systems in the greenhouse.

In the undersoil ventilation system, a small fan draws warm or cool air through pipes buried in the raised beds. Thus warming or cooling the soil temperature to enable plants to grow better through all weather conditions. The greenhouse kit contains the fan, distribution box, and a solar panel to power the fan. The corrugated pipe is one of the locally purchased items and readily available through most building supply stores.

Lush Dome Greenhouse with Solar Panels
Solar Panels mounted on the Growing Dome Greenhouse

The 26 foot Growing Dome solar greenhouse comes standard with one thermostatically controlled, photo-voltaic solar-powered, 12V cooling vent fan (a $495 value).

The larger Growing Dome greenhouses (33′ & 42′) come standard with 115V cooling fans, which require an electrical power supply. They also include solar-powered exhaust fans for the top of the dome. For an additional cost, a Solar Powered Cooling Upgrade is available for these larger year-round greenhouses.

Fan for Powdery Mildew

A solar cooling fan or electric cooling fan can be added to any size of Growing Dome greenhouse. The Desert Cooling Package comes with one active solar cooling fan and a misting system, which may also be added to any greenhouse kit.

The solar-powered water feature upgrade includes a solar panel, underwater pump, water feature, switch, and tubing to create a beautiful accessory to your water tank.

Due to these active solar components, the Growing Dome greenhouse is perfect for off-grid living.

Above Ground Pond

The power of the sun is also used to heat the Above Ground Pond, the main thermal mass of the solar greenhouse. It is always located on the north side of the greenhouse, allowing for maximum heat gain during the day. It will then emit heat and moisture back out to your plants at night.

Pond Plants in the Solar Greenhouse
Above Ground Pond

Reflectix Insulation

Reflectix® custom-cut insulation panels are provided to insulate the northern 1/3 of the Growing Dome. It acts as a blanket to cut down heat loss in the winter months and shading the above-ground pond like an umbrella during summer months. This keeps the Growing Dome greenhouse warmer in the winter and cooler during summer. The north wall reflective surface also reflects heat into the above-ground pond when the sun is low on the horizon in the winter months and increases the available light inside the Growing Dome.

Pre-drilled brackets, hardware, and a pond liner are provided in all geodesic greenhouse kits by Growing Spaces. Locally purchased items include sheet metal and some lumber to complete the tank assembly. Upon purchase, you will receive the exact dimensions and quantities of these Owner Supplied Items.

The pond in the year-round greenhouse can be used as a water garden to grow aquatic plants and fish. It is a critical feature of the Growing Dome’s passive solar design. Also ask us about incorporating Aquaponics in your Greenhouse

Geodesic Dome Greenhouse Structure

Structural units of the Growing Dome greenhouses consist of Douglas Fir lumber, treated with an eco-friendly Lifetime® Wood Treatment. They are pre-fabricated and ready to fasten to strong, custom-made aluminum connecting hubs. The Growing Dome geodesic greenhouse structural members are warrantied for 5 years from the date of purchase of the Growing Dome.

Our greenhouse kits come pre-cut, pre-drilled, and color-coded. If you are semi-handy with a hammer, circular saw, and electric drill, you can choose to assemble sizes 26 ft. diameter and under of Growing Dome geodesic greenhouse yourself.

Sunset over Growing Dome Solar Greenhouses in Pagosa Springs
Sunset over three 42 Growing Dome Greenhouses in Pagosa Springs CO

Greenhouse Foundation Wall

The Growing Dome round greenhouse 24″ Foundation Wall is built from lumber studs and plates clad with a structural siding. It is insulated with R-10 rigid foam (owner supplied), and lined with galvanized metal flashing on the inside. Enjoy raised bed gardening in our garden greenhouses with the 24″ foundation wall that comes with your geodesic greenhouse kit.

Passive Solar Greenhouse
Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Provides Produce All Year Long

Automatic Vents

Automatic greenhouse vent openers open and close the vents which prevent the geodesic greenhouses from overheating. In our year round greenhouses, these openers are adjustable and work by the natural heating and cooling of a tube of compressed wax. Read more about our Automatic Greenhouse Vent Openers.

Vents open on Growing Dome Greenhouse
Top Vents open on Growing Dome Greenhouse


Our greenhouse kit is ready for owner construction or for installation by our highly skilled Growing Spaces® crew. These Growing Dome greenhouses allow peaceful sanctuary in a lush year-round garden and work especially well in places with cold, harsh winter climates.

Solar Greenhouse Installation
Solar Greenhouse Installation in Carbondale CO

Along with purchase of our greenhouse kit, we provide you access to an entire website containing the following useful documents and videos to ensure your success in assembling your Growing Dome geodesic greenhouse:

We offer three different foundation options: gravel ring, concrete pad or piers, or Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF). And, we are always just a phone call (800-753-9333) or email ( away to provide technical support and answer any questions about our Growing Domes or greenhouse gardening!

Please contact us if you’d like to get more information on Growing Domes.  Or to receive more informative gardening and Growing Dome articles, please sign up for our monthly Newsletter “The Happy Grower”