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Geothermal Greenhouse in Alliance Nebraska growing citrus  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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steward
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WOW I have been through there several times and had no idea it was there! Gonna have to go on a field trip !

Another video here.



And another.

 
pollinator
Posts: 54
Location: Zone 4, SD
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First heard about that greenhouse on NPR in the early '90s after moving to South Dakota.  Called Mr. Finch and went down to check it out as my partner and I were exploring a number of possible housing options.  It was amazing.  Colorful little birds and butterflies inside to aid pollination and even saw a tree frog at work on insect control.  

Hard to understand how we have not been able to make geothermal heating and cooling a larger part of energy solutions.   When I was there, his only ongoing expense was running a box fan to push the air through the tubes.
 
Scott Foster
pollinator
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Dakota Brown wrote:First heard about that greenhouse on NPR in the early '90s after moving to South Dakota.  Called Mr. Finch and went down to check it out as my partner and I were exploring a number of possible housing options.  It was amazing.  Colorful little birds and butterflies inside to aid pollination and even saw a tree frog at work on insect control.  

Hard to understand how we have not been able to make geothermal heating and cooling a larger part of energy solutions.   When I was there, his only ongoing expense was running a box fan to push the air through the tubes.




I agree.  If you have the resources this seems like a no-brainer.  
 
Posts: 243
Location: SE Oklahoma
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I just came across this video today on YouTube and checked to see if it had been shared here. I find that so amazing. Wouldn't it be awesome to adapt that design everywhere so that greenhouses would be both cooled and heated economically?

I want one...wish I had a trencher and a bobcat. :-)
 
gardener
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I've watched a few videos and love what Russ is doing.  From what I've seen, the geothermal system is a series of drain tile pipes (4" I'm guessing???) that run around fairly deeply underground OUTSIDE the greenhouse.  

Does he suck in frigid outside air and heat it up in the tubes before entering the greenhouse or does it take greenhouse air (say 45 degrees) and send it through the geothermal loop to heat up to 60 and return to the greenhouse?

I think the tubes are 8' deep or something like that.  Does anyone know for sure?

I'm going to do a simple version of that within my greenhouse.  I'll take hot and possibly humid air from the peak of the roof and blow it underground through a series of shallow 4" perforated drain tile pipes.  I'm thinking the pipes will be a foot or less underground.  The air flow will be divided among maybe 10 pipes that are each 15' long.  By the time the air reaches the outlet of the pipes and returns to the greenhouse interior, it should have cooled down significantly, heated up the soil in the root zone and possibly condensed some moisture out of the air, giving a phase change energy transfer and reducing the overall humidity in the greenhouse.
 
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I have the book but it isn't in front of me so this is from memory.  He uses 4 inch non- perforated pipe. I believe the pipes are coiled under the greenhouse but I have to check the book to be certain.  They are separated 6 or 8 inches I believe and sand was used between and over the pipes before back filling.  If the sand isn't completely around the pipes,  they will collapse when you back fill.  The greenhouse works almost too well.  Even with doors open,  he had problems giving plants that need them the proper chill hours.  The greenhouse is also partly underground. 4 feet if memory serves.  The book does say that it doesn't matter if the pipes are under the greenhouse or not.   They can be in a trench and simply run down the trench and back to the greenhouse.  The air intake and output are both inside the greenhouse.
 
gardener
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There's the book 'The Forest Garden Greenhouse' by Jerome Osentowski of Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute goes into the details on how to build this way, but instead of running the pipes beyond the perimeter of the greenhouse the,y stay within that footprint and in colder locations they also insulate around the foundation.

The tubes going in/out are larger in diameter, like 12-18", and there are numerous smaller tubes that attach to them which are 6-8" diameter. One of the tubes coming out of the ground terminates near the ground, and the other goes up near the roof ridge.

The book also goes into a lot of details about the climate battery and various examples of greenhouses that I would say are pricier/bigger and was looking at this as a resource for the battery when implementing it as part of a Mike Oehler greenhouse.
 
garden master
Posts: 487
Location: Maine, zone 5
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I went ahead and ordered the report PDF.  The site says instant download, but after paying I see no way to get the download.  Perhaps they'll e-mail me a link on Monday (ordered it late Sunday night).  I'll let you guys know how it goes.
 
Mike Jay
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I'm pretty sure I saw a video where Russ showed where the tubes were buried outside the greenhouse.  But maybe the design has changed.  I'm pretty sure under would be better if the space allowed.

Jerome's set-up is awesome.  His system stores the heat of the greenhouse for later use.  I think Russ's doesn't store as much but just relies on the more stable warmer temps underground.
 
Greg Martin
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Greg Martin wrote:I went ahead and ordered the report PDF.  The site says instant download, but after paying I see no way to get the download.  Perhaps they'll e-mail me a link on Monday (ordered it late Sunday night).  I'll let you guys know how it goes.



While it didn't end up being instant, they did send me a link just a few hours later (software didn't auto-send it to me so they did it manually, politely and quickly...thanks guys!).  

Now for the good part...about 200 pages of new stuff for me to read!  I'm really looking forward to comparing what Russ has done compared to what Jerome Osentowski did.  A combination of the two methods might be interesting....store greenhouse heat in the soil under the greenhouse when it gets too hot, exchange heat with the soil outside the greenhouse at night when it gets cold while also bringing in fresh air and more CO2....not sure....lots of reading, thinking and doing to do.
 
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