THE GREENHOUSE OF THE FUTURE is the first step in a much larger project. The harmonious combination of several emerging technologies such as permaculture, passive solar energy, living buildings, cold frames, Earthships, biointensive agriculture and others could change the world to reflect human’s potential at its best!
Imagine a pure and beautiful planet, a planet on which humans have chosen to live proudly, in harmony with nature. Imagine Earth if everyone acted according to what he or she thinks is really ideal, if everyone accomplished something good and noble! Imagine if human ingenuity collaborated and interacted more with natural forces to create extra-ordinary technologies. Take a moment to think about what the world could become.
Imagine the northern part of old monoculture GMO (genetically modified organism) fields being converted into lush forests that offered loads of nourishing fruits, nuts, herbs and medicinal mushrooms. Imagine the center of these fields being covered by magnificent passive solar greenhouses, which have been sculpted and engineered by artists-alchemists thanks to whom waste was transformed into a technological masterpiece.
A microclimate prevails inside these greenhouses where master gardeners grow quality crops; fruits and vegetables with a taste that surpass all your expectations. Rainwater is collected from the roofs of greenhouses and is used several times before entering the soil, which purify the water before letting it go into gigantic underground aquifers. Spring water is abundant and is protected and respected by all: beautiful stone temples are built around its sources to offer a memorable experience to those who quench their thirst with it. The permaculture and biointensive gardens that surround the greenhouses produce an abundance of different organic seasonal crops. Houses, all made from recuperated and recycled materials, interact with natural phenomena to generate water, food and warmth.
Their design is meant to blend in the landscape, as if they were part of it, to honor the beauty and bounty of nature! Inhabitants go rejuvenate themselves by walking in the old-growth forests which are sacred places and where thousand-year old trees represent splendor and wisdom for current and future generations.
We sincerely believe that when a sufficiently high number of humans have a common objective and justifiable reasons to realize it, anything is possible! Join us in creating an ideal world!
With the help of the educational documentary, the ebook, the plans and the list of tools and materials provided, this greenhouse will be easy and fun to build, even for inexperienced people!
TAKEN FROM THE FILM
TIRES: ARE THEY A HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT HAZARD?
Tires are hazardous in piles, not in Earthships.
Several people expressed their concerns linked to the risk that tires emanate toxins in the environment. We were ourselves very skeptical before doing our own research on the subject. There is evidence that tires exposed to extreme heat, sunlight and chemicals emanate harmful substances for the health and the environment. Despite this, reusing tires to build walls is very safe if they are properly reused. You’ll see why shortly.
Article by Recyc-Québec
Here is an excerpt from an article by Recyc-Québec, a Quebec governmental society (Canada) which has for mandate to mobilize the population to manage waste materials in an innovative and sustainable manner:
“A tire being buried: The rubber, fiber and metal from tires remain stable when buried. They break down very slowly and therefore produce no leachate and no biogas that may contaminate air, soil or water table.”
Remember the advantages of building tire walls
• Tires are available everywhere and it is very inexpensive to get them.
• The walls are technically easy to build, allowing you to build without skilled labor, with your family and even with people from your community.
• The reuse of tires will reduce the amount of tires in landfills, which them, since they are exposed to elements, still emanate today.
• Tire walls are even more resilient than concrete walls over time.
• The earth-filled tires are more eco-friendly than concrete, they already have been processed by industries for our cars, while concrete is regularly used for all kinds of constructions, and it is composed of elements which must be processed in various ways. Even if concrete is not the most polluting of materials per kilogram, it is now the second most widely used material in the world, just behind water! Thus, it becomes the most polluting building material in the world!
The atmosphere’s temperature can vary greatly. For example, in Sherbrooke (Canada), the temperature can drop to -40 °C in the winter, but it can also reach 40 °C in the summer. On one hand, because of these major variations, it is difficult to maintain a relatively stable temperature in the building. Though, on the other hand, the temperature of the ground is very stable. Indeed, in the same location, the temperature at a depth of 6 feet (2 meters) varies between 5 °C and 15 °C. We then use passive geothermal energy by burying the east, west and north walls; this protects the greenhouse from the cold ambient air and allows its temperature to adjust to the stable temperature of the ground.
You will notice that on our plans, we added rigid insulation underground, which increases the effectiveness of this principle. This insulation ensures that the thermal mass keeps its heat even more and is protected from the cold air coming from the surface.
In the northern hemisphere, because the sun never comes from the north (if you live in the southern hemisphere, simply replace “north” by the “south” throughout this passage), we orient the greenhouse southwards and only cover the south side with glazing. Since the roof is insulated, we maximize solar gain without losing the precious heat accumulated through the north side. Then, the north and south angles of the roofs must strategically be determined in order to multiply the sunlight during the winter and lessen it during the summer to keep the thermal mass cooler. As you know, the sun reaches a much higher point in the sky in the summer than in the winter. The north roof will then protect the thermal mass from the scorching summer sun in order to stabilize the temperature of the greenhouse.
The generic model offers roof angles of 45 degrees for two main reasons:
1) This angle simplifies the construction of the greenhouse.
2) This angle is ideal for a year round greenhouse; it will perform optimally between latitudes 40° N to 50° N, but will work well between latitudes 35 ° N to 55 ° N and work appropriately beyond those limits. To adapt the design to your situation, you can change the angles of the south and north roofs to enhance the performance of your greenhouse. More the north roof is parallel to the ground and the south roof perpendicular to it; more the greenhouse will be efficient at high latitudes or during the winter because it will retain the heat better. On the other hand, you might not use it fully in summertime because the sun will not reach the back of the greenhouse. More the north roof will be perpendicular to the ground and the south roof parallel to it; more there will be solar gains but it will become a challenge to keep the heat inside the greenhouse…
To maximize the greenhouse’s performance, the frame and the north roof could be painted white (or another pale colour) to reflect sunlight as much as possible towards the plants and the thermal mass. In greenhouses constructed previously, we chose to keep the natural hue of the wood for aesthetic reasons.
To minimize the number of electric fans, we installed two black Maximum vents on the roof and included several operable windows. The advantage of these vents is that they use no energy to generate airflow. To accompany them, we suggest you install ventilation trapdoors insulated on the inside at each vent. The latter will allow you to control the airflow coming out of the greenhouse. You can even close them completely when the outside temperature will be too cold. However, when the trapdoors are open, the Maximum vents are used to exhaust warm air from the top of the greenhouse due to a suction effect.
As warm air rises, it naturally wicks away by thermal draft (chimney effect) and whenever there is a breeze, the form of the vents can generate even more suction. Moreover, when it is sunny, the fact that they are black warms the air passing through them, encouraging this effect again. In warmer weather, outside air is drawn into the greenhouse through the open windows, earth tubes and the AGS system, which creates natural and passive ventilation.
In colder weather, since windows and the AGS system will normally be closed, you could make the air flow only through earth tubes while controlling the air supply with ventilation trapdoors.
The problem with passive solar energy is that when it is sunny, it is very hot; but when it is not sunny, the temperature drops! That is why it is very important to combine it with thermal mass. One of the properties required for a good thermal mass is a high density: compacted soil, concrete, bricks, water and many other materials, those absorb heat when it is hot and give it back slowly when the ambient temperature drops.
In our case, the compacted soil inside the tires is the thermal mass that allows us to store excess heat on sunny days and diffuse it at night. It is also possible to add water in the greenhouse, an aquaponic system or black barrels will be sufficient to increase thermal mass. The combination of both sun and thermal mass will create a microclimate and the temperature will be much more stable in the greenhouse. It is also important to note that once the thermal mass absorbed the heat, it then releases it as infrared energy. An aluminum layer such as a survival blanket can reflect more than 90% of these radiations. That is why we recommend to people building their greenhouse in a cold climate to install an insulated and reflective tarpaulin (aluminum layer facing inside) which you can close the front windows during the coldest nights.
We installed gutters on each side of the greenhouse to collect rainwater that can be stored in barrels inside the greenhouse. It can be used as thermal mass and to water plants. If you store water as thermal mass, we suggest using black barrels to maximize the heat storage.