Thermostats for Agriculture

I am often asked by growers to recommend a thermostat for greenhouse, cooler, or postharvest process use.  There are many to choose from and their specifications can be confusing. It is important to remember just what a thermostat does. It is essentially no different from the light switch on the wall with one very significant […]

Vermont Farmers Food Center Heats with Biomass

UVM Extension and others supported the recent installation of a 341,200 BTU/hr (output) multi-fuel biomass boiler at the Vermont Farmers Food Center (VFFC) in Rutland, VT.  The boiler heats the Farmer’s Hall building with the capability to use several alternative fuels to displace propane. The boiler was fueled primarily on wood pellets but was also […]

Grass and “Ag Biomass” Competitive with Wood Chips

Recent testing at the Meach Cove Trust has demonstrated strong economic and technical feasibility of grass-based biomass combustion fuels.  The use of solid, densified, cellulosic biomass fuels has been well demonstrated with wood pellets in residential and light commercial systems and wood chips in larger, often centralized systems.  The Grass Energy Partnership of the Vermont […]

Update on Heating Greenhouses with Biomass

In the Northeast, early and late season production of food crops using greenhouses requires the addition of heat to maintain temperature and also to control humidity. The heating fuel used is generally propane or other fossil fuels. The use of greenhouses, and greenhouse heating, are on the increase in Vermont as growers respond to increased […]

Calculating Greenhouse and High Tunnel Heat Loss

I am often asked by growers to help estimate what size heater is needed for a greenhouse or what minimum temperature their high tunnel will reach at a certain outside temperature.  Below are some tools to help you do this yourself.  I have presented them in a range of complexity depending on how much you […]

LED Lights – Status, Cost/Benefit and Pro’s and Cons

I have been receiving several inquiries recently on supplemental lighting for greenhouse production. The most common question is “Should I install LED lights to support growing?” I have found one report to be the most complete and current on this topic and wanted to share it here. Economic Analysis of Greenhouse Lighting: Light Emitting Diodes […]

Simple DIY Outside Air Exchange

In colder climates winter storage crops have been stored in passive root cellars for centuries, striking the balance between outside conditions and storage conditions. Although modern refrigeration systems are generally used for large scale, longer-term storage of these crops some enterprises seek lower cost and high energy efficiency options. Outside air exchange systems use an […]

Solar Hot Water Heating in Vermont Greenhouses

Biomass Heating in Vermont Greenhouses

Farm to Plate Energy Success Stories

Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan calls for obtaining 90% of the state’s energy from renewable sources by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% from a 1990 baseline. What role can Vermont’s food system play in advancing this goal? The Energy Cross-cutting Team of the Farm to Plate Network has released seven Energy Success Stories that showcase farms, businesses, […]