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Design Of A Carbon Neutral Greenhouse For Greenfield Community College

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Novel Courses and Content for ChEs II

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.365.1 - 13.365.13



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Paper Authors


Lawrence Decker Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Lawrence Decker,PE,NSPE,is an Associate Professor of Civil/Environmental Engineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston Massachusetts. He has taught a variety of Civil and Environmental Engineering Courses and was an engineer in industry for many years.

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William Hansen Wentworth Institute of Technology

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William Hansen is a fifth year Environmental Engineering student at Wentworth Institute of Technology. He has been on three cooperative work experiences with Environmental Engineering and Consulting Firms.

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Robert Dewar Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Robert Dewar is a fourth year Civil Engineering student at Wentworth Institute of Technology.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Design of a Carbon Neutral Greenhouse for Greenfield Community College abstract

This paper describes the research, development and design of a carbon neutral 25 by 40 foot greenhouse designed by Wentworth Institute of Technology for Greenfield Community College (GCC). The greenhouse will be used for environmental science and horticultural lab experiments and for the study of energy conservation and renewable energy technologies. The system is designed to have a zero net energy impact on their campus. The system will be an active pilot demonstration for energy conservation and renewable energy technologies. When in operation in the Fall of 2008, it will achieve the optimum use of the various technologies.

The greenhouse will have a significant southerly exposure using double pain insulating glass. The north sloping roof, back and each side will be enclosed and insulated to preserve heat. The south facing roof will be at a 45 degree angle for near optimum solar heating in the winter.

The maximum use of direct and passive solar heating will be used. Sixty-nine 55 gallon drums filled with water (in the cooler months) will be stacked three high against the rear wall to absorb maximum daily solar energy. This energy will then be transferred to the greenhouse enclosure at night. A moveable thermal blanket will be drawn over the top and down the sides of the greenhouse on cold nights to further preserve heat.

A geothermal closed loop ground coil heating system will be furnished for supplementary heating with radiant hot water as required. This system will basically transfer heat from the ground and discharges it into the greenhouse in the cold weather. It is 50% more efficient than a standard gas fired heater. The yearly electricity requirement for geothermal system will be offset with the electricity provided by a 7.5 KW solar voltaic system installed on the south facing roof of the adjacent laboratory building.

Monthly heat loss charts have been developed for the greenhouse for maximum loss, loss with passive thermal storage added, loss with thermal blankets added and geothermal heating requirement. Our calculations have shown that the 7.5 KW solar voltaic system will provide the yearly electricity that we estimate will be required by the compressor, motors, controls, fans, pumps and lights of the greenhouse system with an ample safety factor.

GCC has secured the required funding for the project and anticipates obtaining bids in early Summer 2008. The goal is to complete construction in the Fall of 2008.

project description

In 2006 a preliminary design for a sustainable greenhouse for GCC was created. The project was designed to allow the school to both practice and teach the concept of a highly energy efficient building. The greenhouse was designed to have a 40 by 25 footprint and serve as a showcase for renewable and sustained energy technologies.

Decker, L., & Hansen, W., & Dewar, R. (2008, June), Design Of A Carbon Neutral Greenhouse For Greenfield Community College Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4058

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