Growing a better future...
The Parmenters have been experimenting with passive solar greenhouses in Westcliff, Colorado at 8,000 feet in elevation. Their system relies on stores of water to absorb the heat during the day and release it at night. Another system has been developed through the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Instititute called the Subterranean Heating and Cooling Storage System (scroll down) which relies on moving warm moist air through pipes buried in the growing medium. Because of the single use for the water stored in the passive design, we are starting with a simple design where the heat storage medium is also the growing medium. Once we have the parameters for the performance of the simple system, we can add additional water in the form of an aquaponics system, or look at adding small animals such as chickens or rabbits.
As with all our designs, we are not designing to produce for the market. We are designing to produce for the consumption by the people who own and manage these systems. As such, we want to reduce the cash cost of operations as much as possible after the initial facility construction. In the case of animal husbandry, the key will be to include breeding and feed production as a part of the overall system. Here is the preliminary design for our first test facility at the Buland Garden:
This design contains the equivalent of +/- 700 gallons of water in its 3X3 foot growing beds. We would need the equivalent of 1200 gallons to provide the recommended heat storage for a passive system. By adding the air flow through the growing medium we hope to make up the difference making the material in the growing beds serve both the purpose of heat storage and nutrients for our plants.
The Buland green house is on hold for the time being and we are working with an engineer friend, David Olivero, to design a greenhouse to attach to the house at 14030 W. 32nd on the LSI grounds. The basic idea for that greenhouse is:
Here is how it looked on February 16, 2013:
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