Caledonia Year-Round Greenhouse
May 25 plan update and initial layout:
After talking to some professionals in the field and a significant amount of reading we have come up with some ideas for the greenhouse upgrade. here is an initial preview of the different components and what the final project will look like. An image of the labeled components can be found below the explanations.
Solar Panels -
The solar panels will collect electricity from the sun for the components that will be installed in the greenhouse.
Battery Bank -
The batteries will store the energy collected by the solar panels.
Grow Lights -
Plants need at least 10 hours of light to grow, these lights will artificially make up for the shorter days that happen in the winter.
Heating Cables -
The cables will be attached to a thermometer and inserted in the soil to make sure that it does not freeze and kill the roots.
Black Water Barrels -
These will be used for thermal mass, which means they can collect and hold the heat from the sun and then dissipate it during the night to keep the space at a relatively stable temperature.
Check out the blog post about it here
Have a small open compost bin inside the greenhouse to supply additional heat. When plant matter breaks down it releases energy which represents itself as heat.
Use frost covers during the night to directly insulate the plants. These frost covers are placed over the plants and contain the heat accumulated throughout the day. The rest of the space will cool down, however the plants themeselves will retain their warmth.
Caledonia Senior Secondary is a public high school located in Terrace, BC. The school has built and maintained a greenhouse to teach students about growing food and the advantages of local products. We have decided to partner with them to make this greenhouse capable of sustainably growing food all year through the use of solar arrays, batteries, and heaters. We see this as a great opportunity to provide clean energy, but also to help provide education at a young age for the sustainability of home gardening, power generation infrastructure, and personal choices!
In order to complete this project, we are doing research on the power that it takes to heat a greenhouse or at least make it suitable for plant growth. We use information such as the square footage of the greenhouse and the average local temperatures to size the heating requirements. With that information, we will determine how many panels and batteries will be needed.
Currently, we are in the information-gathering phase, reaching out to bloggers and organizations to understand the infrastructure that has worked in the past. Caledonia has been collecting temperature data from inside the greenhouse and we have reached out to solar supply companies for any input they might have.
Caledonia students and staff have been greatly supportive of Step3Project and we can't wait to give back!