12 - Solar heating and CO2-neutral living at the Zonneterp, Netherlands
Project name
Greenhouse Village: 'The Zonneterp'
  Heating system of the Zonneterp
  Fig 1: Heating system – CO2 neutral living (from: InnovatieNetwerk)
Greenhouse Village is a combination of houses and greenhouses to create a situation with no use of fossil fuels for all energy needs. Solar energy is the main source. The 'Zonneterp' provides for its own energy, biomass and water supply. The basic elements of the design are: an energy-producing greenhouse, a settlement of 100 houses and an anaerobic digester.
Start of the project
End of the project
Contact person
A pdf-file of the report can be downloaded: www.zonneterp.nl/zonneterp.pdf.
Short project description/ project function

Greenhouse Village uses the excess of solar energy captured by greenhouses for other heating needs in housing. The greenhouses cover remains closed, the summer heat is transferred to ground water and is later used for heating (the greenhouses as well as the living spaces). In the winter a cooling tower keeps part of the aquifer cold and this water is used in summer for cooling greenhouses as well as living spaces when the temperature rises.

Biogas, resulting from digesting the greenhouse and other waste, produces

  1. carbon dioxide, which can be used for the closed greenhouse to increase plant growth (CO2 as a fertilizer)
  2. electricity and
  3. hot water for the village.

The greywater of the households is purified and supplemented with nutrients of the black water flows and is used for irrigation purposes within the greenhouse.
The greenhouse plants evaporate the irrigation water, while using the nutrients. The vapour condenses and is collected and can serve as house-hold tap water after a proper quality control.

  Nitrogen balance for the Zonneterp
  Fig. 2: Nitrogen Balance for the Zonneterp (from: InnovatieNetwerk)
Summary of experiences
A pilot project of the energy producing greenhouse has been realized in 2006 and will be monitored till 2008.
Still waiting for subsidies to build a system on a larger scale in 2008-2015.
Project benefits
Use of solar energy as the source of energy reducing the need for fossil fuels.
Project level
Using mature technology
Financial scale
Construction costs: unknown
Maintenance costs: unknown
Environmental conditions
Description of special local conditions
Why this is ecological engineering
The system is based on an integrated design combining ecological as well as technical knowledge. The system is fully based on energy from the sun.
Last Updated ( Friday, 26 October 2007 )