Mechanical ventilation systems are applied in greenhouses for temperature adjustment, but they consume a large amount of energy. This research aims to optimize the energy consumption of a variable air volume (VAV) fan-pad evaporative cooling system via experimentation. We discuss the effects of adjusting the VAV fan-pad evaporative cooling system on temperature and humidity, and we provide an estimate of the corresponding energy consumption under different highest stable temperature conditions. The test results demonstrate that a higher fan frequency is typically accompanied by greater ventilation quantity, faster cooling speed, more pronounced effects of the fan-pad evaporative cooling system fan, and more intensive energy consumption during the cooling process compared with a low fan frequency. When the temperature increased for 71 seconds or 60 seconds in a specific temperature zone (34 to 35 °C), the indoor temperature could be reduced to the optimum for crops with a fan frequency of 20 Hz, saving more than 87% of the energy output. When the warm-up time for a specific temperature zone (34 to 35 °C) was 41 seconds, the indoor temperature could be reduced to the optimum temperature for crops only when the fan frequency was 50 Hz. The VAV fan-pad evaporative cooling system increased the relative humidity in the greenhouse to satisfy crop production demands. The temperature of crops shared the same variation trend as temperatures inside the greenhouse. Our research results theoretically benefit cooling control and energy-saving design of greenhouses in the subtropics.
Calcium-rich vegetables in diet could minimize calcium deficiency and maximize good health and well-being. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of different levels of foliar application of CaCl2 on lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) growth and calcium concentrations with the application of organic and conventional fertilizers. Pot experiments were conducted with three calcium levels (60, 120, and 180 mg·L−1 of CaCl2) of an organic fertilizer (3N–0.8P–3.5K) and commercial conventional fertilizer (15N–15P–15K). Calcium in whole oven-ashed samples of shoots was analyzed by atomic absorption spectrometry. Nine lettuce cultivars including butterhead, romaine, and loose-leaf phenotype were tested. These results revealed that the calcium concentration in lettuce significantly increased as calcium levels increased from 60 to 180 mg·L−1. Elevated calcium concentrations in organic and conventional fertilizers increased the concentration of calcium in lettuce from 1.82% at 60 mg·L−1 to a mean of 2.15% at 120 and 180 mg·L−1. The concentration of calcium in the loose-leaf phenotype was 2.17%, 2.47%, and 3.80% higher than that in the butterhead and romaine phenotypes at 60, 120, and 180 mg Ca/L, respectively. Furthermore, the significant difference in calcium concentration among cultivars ranged from 1.27% to 3.05%. ‘Perilla Green’, ‘Breen lettuce’, and ‘Salinas’ had the highest calcium concentrations followed by ‘Jericho lettuce’, ‘Salad Bowl’ and ‘Crisp’, and ‘Kaiser’, whereas ‘Valmaine’ and ‘Rosa Green’ had the lowest calcium concentrations. The present study revealed that selecting fertilizers and cultivars with high calcium concentration can increase the total calcium content of lettuce.