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: