Innovative greenhouse project in Yukon

April 30, 2012
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An innovative greenhouse has been built as a joint project involving the Yukon Research Centre and Yukon College’s School of Access. The year-round, solar greenhouse project will provide valuable data on the heating requirements of an insulated greenhouse and the ability of a small Stirling Engine to co-generate power and heat, says instructor and project supervisor Simone Rudge. The project is also testing the use of vacuum panels in shutters.

The completed greenhouse is 14’x24’ and has 36’ of 3-foot wide beds in a U-shape, with barrels for irrigation and heat storage along the north wall. “LED lights are powered by the Stirling Engine for an additional four hours of light during short winter days,” says Rudge. “The Stirling Engine is an external combustion engine that relies on a temperature differential to drive the nitrogen-filled piston.” The floors, walls, and ceiling of the greenhouse are filled with foam, and carefully sealed to give R-values of 36 for the floor, 26 for the walls, and 52 for the ceiling.

Another chilly greenhouse construction day - here, a student and carpenter do some measuring.

(Another chilly greenhouse construction day in 2011 - here, instructor Simone Rudge and a volunteer carpenter do some measuring.)

The polycarbonate glazing has R-values better than double-paned glass, yet allows more light through. “The shutters built with vacuum panels are only two inches thick, yet have an R-value of 50," Rudge notes.

Watch Greenhouse Canada Magazine and Energy Edge for more to come on this project.

Visit the students’ Facebook page for photos and commentary on the building process here.

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