Passive Solar Greenhouse Workshop
Winter 2020

Are you a greenhouse grower looking to save money on your heating bill? Or maybe you are looking to decrease the carbon footprint of your greenhouse? Passive solar greenhouse growing might be for you!

Date: Winter 2020
Location: Athabasca (register for directions)
Presenter(s): Dong Jianyi, owner of Freshpal Ltd. and Daniel Chappell, professional horticulturist and instructor at Olds College
Cost: To be determined still. There may be a small fee to cover your lunch…..we usually keep things pretty cheap….

Using the heat of the sun, thermal mass (e.g. plastic water totes filled with water) and insulation, greenhouse growers can get cool-season vegetables started without burning natural gas or using electricity for heating. For example, researchers in Manitoba found the indoor temperature of a passive solar greenhouse on a cold February night remained 30⁰C warmer than outdoors.

Dong Jianyi has taken his passive solar greenhouse in Olds to a new level by designing his in the style used in China, where passive solar greenhouses are much more common than in Alberta. It is likely the largest passive solar greenhouse you can find in Alberta too: 330 feet x 28 feet. Most passive solar greenhouses in Alberta are about half the size of this……..for now!

During this workshop, Jianyi and professional horticulturist and instructor at Olds College Daniel Chappell will take you through how to build, design, and operate your own passive solar greenhouse. You’ll learn about the possibilities of growing veggies in a greenhouse primarily heated by the sun.

What is a passive solar greenhouse though? The idea is simple: a thick wall and partial roof on the northside act as heat sinks to absorb solar energy during the day and radiate it back into the house at night. Arched struts extend from the peak of the roof to the soil surface. These are clad in a single layer of plastic. In some cases, an insulating blanket rolls down over the plastic at night to retain heat.

Want to learn more? We recommend listening to our Passive Solar Greenhouse podcast episode in preparation for the workshop.

Rural Routes to Climate Solutions (#RR2CS) is a program of the Stettler Adult Learning Centre. We empower agricultural producers in rural Alberta with climate solutions that benefit farms and ranches. Our partners include Food Water Wellness Foundation, Young Agrarians, Organic Alberta and many farmers across the province!

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