“Greening” a Greenhouse Through Sustainable Energy Solutions
- Install a benchtop heating system in EarthDance’s greenhouse in order to demonstrate a green technology to growers at our Organic Farm School
- Provide education about the value and usage of benchtop heating to beginning and established growers
- Install benchtop system by June of 2015. Actual: Installation was delayed but completed in February of 2016
- Educate 25 beginning growers about greenhouse management, including benchtop heating, by May 2016. Actual: 28 members of EarthDance’s 2016 apprenticeship have participated in a field walk class about greenhouse management, including benchtop heating. They have also participated in seeding and watering in the greenhouse.
- Present the results of our benchtop heating trials at the Missouri Organic Association Conference to at least 15 growers by February of 2017.
- 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.
Results of your project and lessons learned so far.
EarthDance kept logs of our propane usage in winter of 2015 and installed our benchtop heating system in February 2016.
2015 propane usage: 320 gallons; keeping greenhouse at 55F at night
2016 propane usage so far: about 180 gallons; keeping greenhouse at 60F at night (with the thermostat at plant level)
Farm Manager Monica Pless observed that germination on the benchtop system has been quicker than typical for seedlings that she would not usually put on heat mats, such as parsley, spinach, and beets.
Additionally, 295 individuals have visited the farm so far this year for tours. The tours include a stop in the greenhouse to view EarthDance’s seedling production and learn about the benefits of the benchtop system.
Thus far EarthDance engaged in the following activities in fulfillment of our project:
- Tracked propane usage in our greenhouse during winter 2015.
- Consulted with several farmers and technicians to determine the most important components of EarthDance’s benchtop heating system.
- Purchased relevant supplies
- Installed benchtop heating system and began using it in February, 2016.
- Hosted farm tours and explained the purpose of the benchtop system during stops in the greenhouse.
- Published a blog entry about the project on our website: Blog entry about benchtop heating system April 2016
To see a video about the benchtop heating system see the YouTube video:
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Blog entry about benchtop heating system April 2016We will have more to report for this section after we engage in the educational outreach on behalf of this project in early 2017, including a talk at the Missouri Organic Association Conference and a field day at EarthDance.