Greenhouse Canada

Features Efficiency Energy
Nova Scotia greenhouse succeeds with experimental heating

September 20, 2012  By Treena Hein

The experimental greenhouse is in Cape Breton.

A greenhouse in Sydney River, NS is using an experimental infrared heating system that the owners claim is cutting heating costs by at least 50 per cent.


This statement was made by Ora McManus, the manager of New Dawn Renewable Energy, the community development group heading up the project.


New Dawn Renewable Energyis part of New Dawn Enterprises, which collaborated with the Eskasoni First Nation to design and construct the 1800 ft2 ‘Cold Climate Greenhouse.’

As stated on the New Dawn website, the year-long research involving the monitoring and measuring of heat efficiencies and crop production is going well. The project goals are:

·         traditional heating costs reduced by at least 50%;

·         temperatures in the greenhouse will not fall below 7˚C in the winter; and

·         productivity and quality of produce grown represents a 20 per cent improvement over that of a standard greenhouse of comparable size.

Ultimately, this phase of research and testing seeks to demonstrate that high-quality produce can be grown in a Cold Climate Greenhouse at an affordable cost…The second phase of the project, following the two-year pilot, will be the construction, testing and three year operation of a 10,000 square foot Cold Climate Greenhouse.

Test Plant Varieties for Year One (2012)

Bouquet Dill

Kaleidoscope Swiss Chard

Green Arrow Peas

Harris Model Parsnip

Tatsoi Oriental Green

Long Tokyo Onion

Sardinia Spinach

Matina Sweet Lettuce

Annapolis Lettuce

Little Gem Pearl Lettuce

Zesty Mesclun Mix

Baby Leaf Blend

Blue Curled Scotch Kale

Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry

Super Red 80 Cabbage

Arcadia Broccoli

Scarlet Runner Bean

Gold Rush Bean

Ildi Tomato

Scotia Tomato

Veronica Cauliflower


(The heating system)

Greenhouse Team

Ora McManus – Engineer, Team Leader

Paul Patterson – Consultant, Syncom Strategic Planning Associates

Al Forgeron – Engineer, Designer (FIRST system – Forgeron Infrared System Technology)

Richard (Buddy) Young – Teacher, Eskasoni Band Council Representative

George MacNeil – Contractor, Eskasoni Band Council

Donny MacLellan – Businessman (retired), Farmer

Maggie English – Plant Biologist, Greenhouse Manager

Clifford Crompton – Research Botanist, Federal Department of Agriculture (retired)

Alina Crompton – Research Botanist, Federal Department of Agriculture (retired)

Leroy Denny – Chief, Eskasoni First Nation

Allan Sampson – CFO, Eskasoni Band Council

Rankin MacSween, President, New Dawn Enterprises

New Dawn Enterprises Limited, incorporated in 1976, is the oldest Community Development Corporation in Canada and is a Founding Member of the Canadian CED (Community Economic Development) Network. It is a private, volunteer directed business dedicated to community building. New Dawn seeks to identify community needs and to establish and operate ventures that speak to those needs. New Dawn employs over 175 people from the Cape Breton community and it services 600 Cape Bretoners each day through its companies and projects.

Part of the impetus for the project stems from the nutrition-related health challenges facing the people of Eskasoni First Nation:

·         Eskasoni’s incidence of both obesity and diabetes is four times the provincial average.

·         The Eskasoni reserve is highly limited by its land base. The reserve consists of a narrow strip of land bordered on one side by the Bras d’Or Lakes and on the other by a large mountain. There is little to no arable land on the narrow strip.

·         Eskasoni has a young and growing population. It is, in fact, the largest Mi’kmaq community in Atlantic Canada with a population of 4,000. Given this growing population, much of their remaining available land is used for housing and infrastructure.

·         Eskasoni shares with all of Cape Breton (and indeed with all subarctic climates) a short, inconsistent and unreliable growing season.


Print this page


Stories continue below