As regular readers know, I post a lot about my greenhouse and the trials and tribulations the weather causes it, to the point where I begin to wonder if it’s worth having one at all.
The thing with standard greenhouses is that they are limited in their usefulness. As a rule they great for starting the season early and extending it late but not so useful in winter unless you pay out for heating and the cost of that just seems to grow whatever fuel you use.
It strikes me that ideally a greenhouse should provide year round growing conditions without a high running cost for heating. So I was rather happy to receive a DVD and e-books entitled The Greenhouse of the Future.
Produced in Quebec, Canada this is about the design and construction of large greenhouse utilising appropriate technology to provide a greenhouse that is usable for a long season, if not year round, in a northern climate. It uses a lot of recycled and natural materials materials along with modern to end up with a practical and beautiful building enhancing the environment.
The concept is simple enough, heat is absorbed by a large thermal mass. This energy is prevented from escaping with insulation and utilised as required at night and in winter.
The main walls are constructed using earth-filled tyres and the DVD explains in detail how to source, sort, fill and build with these. It also contains expert evidence as to the environmental safety of using old tyre in this fashion – useful if talking to a planning department. You might have seen the Grand Designs TV programme where a house was built using this method in France.
It also uses cob in the construction and goes into the details of how to make this traditional material along with constructing parts of a wall using old bottles. Very practical but also satisfying and attractive. As the DVD box says
“The Greenhouse of the Future” outlines the design and step by step building of a radically sustainable passive solar greenhouse built from up-cycled materials and operating using fully renewable natural energies.
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What I really found marvellous was that this project was undertaken by volunteers. People giving their time and labour to produce something ecologically sound and of lasting value. Incidentally, there are some good tips on how to organise and manage volunteers so that their efforts aren’t wasted.
As we sit here in yet another year of economic woe for many and few signs of it getting much better (whoever you may vote for), it’s fantastic to see that there are still people seeking a more meaningful lifestyle. One less based on material greed, more in harmony with nature.
Who is this for?
If you’re interested in and especially if you intend to construct something using alternative methods, not just a greenhouse, this is well worth getting hold of. The Greenhouse of the Future
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