Organizers say experimental C.B. greenhouse a success
Lower cost heating lets the growing season last all year
A greenhouse in Sydney River is using an experimental infrared heating system to grow food all year long, and the group behind the project hopes to export the technology throughout Northern latitudes.
"The goal is to test the heating system. That's the main focus. It's an experimental platform for that purpose," said Maggie English who manages the greenhouse.
"The ultimate goal is to be able to grow year-round in an efficient way. So the cheapest way possible to heat a greenhouse year round, and then to have this essentially as a turn-key technology and you can bring it into any community in Canada, or the world."
The 18-hundred-square-foot greenhouse has pipes hanging from the ceiling that beam heat towards individual plants.
"So instead of trying to heat this very large space, it radiates down and heats the leaves of the plants, and so the plants have been really happy," said English.
In March the daytime temperature in the greenhouse was around 10 degrees, and at night the temperature never dipped below eight.
The infrared heating system cuts heating costs by at least 50 per cent, according to Ora McManus, the manager of New Dawn Renewable Energy, the community development group heading up the project.
He said northern climates have to be able to grow more food.
"Because feeding the earth is the next great challenge to human kind. We have to make sure that we use the cold climate regions efficiently and effectively," said McManus.
The next step in the project is to build a 10,00 square foot commercial greenhouse to further test the technology.
New Dawn hopes to partner with the First Nations community of Eskasoni for that project.