“Greening” a Greenhouse Through Sustainable Energy Solutions

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2015: $7,500.00
Projected End Date: 02/15/2017
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Rachel Levi

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: demonstration
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency

    Proposal summary:

    EarthDance will retrofit the greenhouse at our Organic Farm School in order to increase its environmental and economic sustainability.  This project will demonstrate the energy savings that can be realized through bench-top heating.  


    Project objectives from proposal:

    EarthDance proposes to install benchtop heating to reduce our greenhouse’s carbon footprint, and the cost of heating it.  We will establish a baseline of energy usage and costs during our first winter by heating the greenhouse with propane. During the spring and summer of 2015, EarthDance will install a benchtop heating system, in order to greatly reduce our dependence on non-renewable energy.  A benchtop heating system works by circulating hot water on benches under seedling trays, keeping the seedlings’ growing medium at an ideal soil temperature for germination.  Low tunnels over the seedlings keep the ambient temperature immediately surrounding the seedlings temperate, while the air above the seedlings may drop to near freezing.  It is far more efficient to heat soil than to heat an entire greenhouse structure, resulting in a huge cost and energy savings.  


    1. Install a benchtop heating system in EarthDance's greenhouse in order to demonstrate a green technology to growers at our Organic Farm School
    2. Provide education about the value and usage of benchtop heating to beginning and established growers 

    Performance Targets:

    1. Install benchtop system by June of 2015
    2. Educate 25 beginning growers about greenhouse management, including benchtop heating, by May 2016
    3. Present the results of our benchtop heating trials at the Missouri Organic Association Conference to at least 15 growers by February of 2017
    4. Host a field day at EarthDance for at least 15 growers to demonstrate benchtop heating at work and enable growers to ask questions about the system by March of 2017.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.