Issues with the Greenhouse Site

We visited the Eco-house yesterday, and finalized the maximum possible dimensions of the greenhouse. In order to satisfy the requirements of the City of Windsor bylaws, we will maintain a structure less than 108 square feet. Considering some pre-fabricated options, as well as the location of windows on the south side of the Eco-house, it would appear that a 6.5 by 14 foot (91 square feet) greenhouse would be the most appropriate.

The present state of the Eco-house lot indicates that significant ground preparation will be required, including clean-up and grading, prior to starting the build. In-ground planting is being strongly considered, however, the team will require the results of the soil testing being performed by the Urban Agriculture group before proceeding. We also have the opportunity to use on-site rainwater collection for irrigation. It remains to be determined whether a solar-electric irrigation system will be economically feasible, or whether a more simplified approach will be taken.

Further research has been conducted on controlling the temperature of the greenhouse. Since it is a relatively small space, a heating system is not necessarily required. As for cooling, the team has researched the option of an automated solar venting system. Contrary to popular belief, the solar venting system is actually quite affordable, even on our limited budget.

Although significant emphasis has been placed on simplifying the design in an effort to bring it down to a more practical level, there is still a strong desire to include innovative and interesting aspects with an associated artistic value. One method to be used is the concept of vertical growth. Since we are designing a relatively small structure, vertical growing methods would dramatically increase the potential yield of the greenhouse. Including vertical growth along the wall shared between the greenhouse and the Eco-House would further assist with regulating the temperature of the Eco-House while providing a great opportunity for hydroponic growth in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. The vertical growth wall could even be expanded beyond the length of the greenhouse to include adjacent portions of the Eco-House wall. One example of a vertical garden (including rainwater harvesting) is presented in the blog photo. This particular green wall was developed by an OCAD student (Michael Tampilic) in 2008.

Special thanks to Martha Gay-Scroggins (University of Guelph) for meeting with us last Thursday and offering much insight on our greenhouse development.

Photo & Associated Article:

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Getting Technical, Practical and Moving Forward

After having a meeting with Noel and Rod last Thursday, Noel gave us really good insight about our current structures, and while unique, we are not thinking as practically as we should be, and they did not match the budget that is constraining us. We now have a more narrow direction and feel we are on the right track. From here we researched pre-fab greenhouses available to us to try to get a price-point to match our budget. We are also planning to utilize the side of the eco-house to benefit both the greenhouse and the eco-house.

Yesterday, we met with Jennifer. She was excited both about our spinal designs (see last blog), as well as our lean-to greenhouse design, as long as we hybrid it and make it more unique. We agreed to research pricing on materials for the spinal designs, create detailed drawings and schematics. We are going to get back to Jennifer with the pricing hopefully this Thursday so the choice of materials can be complete. We are also going to speak with Martha Gay-Scroggins this Thursday who is a professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture in Guelph. She is hopefully going to give us ideas on how to build the greenhouse, how to make it sustainable and anything other information we need.


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Biomimicry: Creative and Practical

We shared our accomplishments in our midterm presentation, and received a lot of positive feedback and criticisms. Our new approach is to match our creativity with practical aspects of the design so we will research size of the greenhouse, the exact location, pricing and funding, different materials as well as natural systems for heating, cooling, water and moisture. We will also focus more on these natural systems, rather than just the design itself, for example, a living wall, ponds, and natural heat capture. We are also going to continue researching biomimicry and methods to incorporate it into our designs. As well, we will look into information on the pros and cons of attaching the greenhouse to the present eco-house and all the requirements needed to make that happen. Next Tuesday, we have planned to have a scale model created, as well as all the research on biomimicry completed, and potential materials and pricing, as well as mind mapping of natural heating, cooling and water. We have also scheduled another meeting on this day with Jennifer Willet to showcase all our new research and designs.
Photo from:

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Beehives, Ladybugs, and Eyes – Say what?

This week the greenhouse group has focused on brainstorming a series of radical and creative designs. Which includes greenhouses shaped as domes, leaves, and other biological based designs (eyes, beehive, ladybug, etc.). We have added them to our growing archive and in Tuesdays class, created a mind-map of everything a sustainable greenhouse could entail. We have discussed how the greenhouse will function, such as heating systems, water supply and power supply. Some ideas include using solar panels to heat the water that may circulate through the greenhouse and heat the roots (root zone heating). Other ideas include implementing an underground heat sink, which will control the temperature in the greenhouse either by using water or recycled materials. In terms of irrigation, rainwater run-off from the eco-house and greenhouse can be collected and distributed to the plants. The picture included is a design proposal for our greenhouse by a group member that takes a Canadian bio-architecture approach for an interesting, unique greenhouse. For next week we plan to focus on selecting three or so baseline designs and detailing a list of contents that will be included in the greenhouse, as well as focusing on what sources of power and heating we are going to include.

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High Tech and Organic!

We have been busy researching possible self-sustaining greenhouses.  We are looking for something high tech and organic looking.  The greenhouse might be a 2 storey with a kitchen lab, greenhouse area and studio.  We have started our archive which includes examples of very different and interesting architecture-including one shaped like an intestine.  We have also gathered examples of several materials including: stainless steel kitchen, recycled materials, and different kinds of plastics.  We will be deciding on a design and size in our next few meetings.  We need to meet back with Jennifer Willet and Rod to confirm our choice.  We took away many of the suggestions from the critique and will now be looking at a more specific time line and what our end goal will be.  We are all excited to move ahead with this project!!

Photo courtesy of

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Art & Urban Agriculture: Building a Sustainable Future

As part of The University of Windsor’s “Green Corridor” winter 2010 class 6 different students, from varying academic disciplines, have assembled into a group that will research, develop, and implement the foundations for what will eventually become a community garden utilizing the vacant space available at the site of the Eco-House, another project by the Green Corridor providing a prototype for an environmentally friendly and self sustaining residential home. This garden will be self sustaining, organic, and provide vegetation that will nourish not only the community but the environment as well.

The team is comprised of an interdisciplinary mixture of students: Mike, Brad, and Kyle from Mechanical Engineering, Roel from Sociology, Megan from Visual Art & Anthropology, and Chris from Visual Art & Communications.Hopefully the combined skills of critical thinking, innovative problem solving, and technical know-how provided by our group will result in a vibrant and effective collaboration.

The community garden is a new project proposed by the artist run collective Green Corridor and our group is the first to tackle the project. In the few classes we’ve had thus far we’ve created a basic plan of attack: we need to determine the quality of the soil that is currently available at the site figuring out the toxicity and nutritional levels, research viable solutions for enriching the soil, design the most effective layout possible for the garden, and map out possible areas on campus the project could be extended to in the future.

Luckily we have the help of Dr. Rita Haase, a professor here at the University of Windsor who works with a local activist group “FedUp”. She has interests in developing the garden as well and our group will be meeting with her on a semi-regular basis and will hopefully be able to assist her in developing ideas while utilizing her experience and knowledge to enable us to make more effective decisions in relation to our sustainable garden.

As a group we’re excited to see where we can take this project and look forward to the process of developing it.

The Team

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Introducing The Greenhouse Project

Green corridor consists of many art projects that help create a better, greener environment.  One of the many projects that green corridor is aiming to accomplish is the “Greenhouse” project. Our greenhouse team consists of several diverse discipline members; which include two business students: Esra and Julie, one mechanical engineer: James, a  sociology student: Jessica and Lauren who is a psychology major. The greenhouse team has established several goals to accomplish for the winter 2010 term. Our first goal is to research a variety of creative greenhouse designs and prepare an archive of artistic designs that are most appropriate for the green corridor project as a whole.  The team is collaborating with Jennifer Willet and Rod Strickland who will be supporting us with the aesthetic and technical aspects of the greenhouse design.  After meeting with both artists, they have given us an idea of their needs that we must accommodate within our designs. Their needs include aspects such as a lab, studio, gallery, and a kitchen that we must incorporate into the designs. The second goal of our team is to plan methods in order to make the greenhouse function such as the power and water supply and a heating system. Our third and final goal for this project is resource planning as well as coming up with different sources of funding to construct and build the selected design.

Our team is looking forward to accomplish these assigned tasks by the end of this term, so the next team will be able to build the greenhouse as planned.

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Student Blogs

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» Read all of the student blogs


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