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, […]

Oilseed Economics Update 2014

Yesterday we held our annual Oilseed Producer’s Meeting.  At this meeting, I presented an economic overview of oilseeds in Vermont.  Ina nutshell, Vermont has an installed on-farm biodiesel capacity of 600,000 gal/yr (5 sites) with a normalized initial cost of $1/gal of capacity (better than national average). Fuel can be produced for an average cost […]

Vermont On-Farm Biodiesel – Costs of Production

I recently co-authored a summary of the economics of on-farm biodiesel with Netaka White from the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.  This report collects the economic and logistic learning from the past seven years of the Vermont Bioenergy Initiative (VBI).  The VBI has supported a wide range of sustainable fuel related efforts in Vermont.  Along with […]

How Refrigerators Work: “Principles of Refrigeration”

1944 US Office of Education video on refrigeration principles.  Excellent.