Flatrock Passive: Thoughts on a Winter Greenhouse

first_imgEditor’s Note: This is one of a series of blog posts by David Goodyear describing the construction of his new home in Flatrock, Newfoundland, the first in the province built to the Passive House standard. You’ll find his complete blog here. It is now May. The weather is shaping up, and after a long, cold winter the ground is starting to thaw. Old Man Winter did give me one thing this year: a lot of time to think. I have been thinking mainly about food security and accessing more locally grown food. We had a successful harvest last year and a cellar to store all of our garden goodies to eat during the winter. It’s hard to believe that we are still eating crisp and sweet Newfoundland carrots that were pulled from the earth last November!RELATED ARTICLESA Farmstead of the Future in GeorgiaA Vision of the Future Takes Shape in ParisAdopting a Green LifestyleA Slow Living Summit in Brattleboro, Vermont The wonders of having a root cellar have really amazed me. Did you know that you can store a cabbage (with its roots attached) in an underground root cellar for a really long time? I didn’t. The last cabbage that I pulled out of our underground lair was 3 1/2 months old (see the photo below). A few leaves had dried a bit and formed a protective layer around the cabbage. After peeling, it emerged as a perfectly clean, crisp garden-grown cabbage waiting for the perfect slaw on a pulled pork sandwich! This cabbage has been in a root cellar for 3 1/2 months, but thanks to low temperatures and high humidity it’s in perfect condition. Photo: David Goodyear Storage in the cellar at high humidity and low temperature (but above freezing) is really about creating a space where vegetables can stay barely alive by passively using energy from the massive heat sink of the earth. After the last harvest I realized that I now have the infrastructure in place to grow and store even more than I previously thought. It would be great if I could grow more–more varieties of cold climate vegetables that have good storage characteristics, short season vegetables that lend themselves well to canning, and greens–lots and lots of greens! So, greens are a problem. We have a short growing season. The growing season can be extended by using conventional greenhouses and cold frames. However, green vegetables are hard to store for long periods of time. They won’t last in a root cellar. However, plants like radicchio and Belgian endive (chicory family) grow as a root, similar to a carrot, which can be harvested, stored in a cellar, and then forced to grow tightly packed heads months later. Cabbages are easy and versatile and a regular part of traditional Newfoundland cooking. These are great options, and nutritious ones, but not really that green. To obtain greens you need a longer growing season, or some way to extend it. A root cellar effectively extends growing to four seasons by keeping subterranean vegetables alive, but greens need light. So the answer is obvious: A greenhouse is in order. Insulation is the key to performance A greenhouse can have have many forms depending on how it will be used and where it is located. A simple polyethylene hoop house could extend the season here for a few weeks in spring and fall. However, I want to minimize the gap in our growing seasons significantly. Glazings and air leakage are where most heat is lost here. So a structure with decent glazing R-values (for a greenhouse) and good air tightness is a must. The structure needs thermal mass in order to cruise through significant temperature swings in both winter and summer. Passive solar greenhouse design is just using a lot of common sense. Insulate where the sun is not able to enter. Insulation is key to performance. North, east, and west walls all should be highly insulated. To Passive House standards? Obviously not. This article was compact and informative and provided some basic design criteria for an extended season greenhouse. The sweet spot appears to be somewhere around R-20 walls and R-2 glazings. R-2 glazings are expensive, so I would opt for locally available R-1.5 double-panes but use a homemade insulated curtain (R-1) at night to increase energy savings. I am looking at about 220 square feet of glazing. A couple of quick calculations can easily show that going beyond R-20 and decreasing thermal bridging is a waste of time and money. Sinking money into a heat source is probably a better investment. Since this kind of greenhouse really only needs to keep vegetables alive through the cold months, a low-grade heat source such as a climate battery (ground source heat exchanger), or a point source heater, such as a compost pile could produce all the energy necessary to maintain temperatures above 0ºC, or freezing. Location: A south-facing hillside The location for our greenhouse is absolutely perfect–a south-facing hillside. This will allow us to put a foundation into the hill and use the natural shape to berm the north wall to between 4 and 5 feet. The east wall will be mostly bermed while the west and south walls will only be partially buried. This works out great because I can build a knee wall on the south side with anywhere from 2 to 4 feet of vertical glazing and also have glazing on the roof. Vertical glazing works well in the winter because the sun is low in the sky (about 20º above the horizon). A variety of glazing angles could work but ideally one would try to set the glazing angle to be perpendicular to the incident sunlight in the winter. Of course, this is also a matter of design, aesthetics, and whether it can be easily built. Our frost depth here is about 30 inches, so the foundation will need some insulation. There is no doubt about that, but with the earth-bermed walls, R-8 may be enough. Ideally it would be best if our design was easily constructed so I could do most of the work without needing too much help. This is a major driving factor here. Making headway is much easier when you can be self sufficient. Each design under consideration has been modeled in HOT2000 and is showing anywhere from 700 to 1000 kWh to heat during the winter in order to maintain 5ºC. It is less than 500 kWh if I just want to keep it above freezing. All of this being said, the foundation for each design is the same. Onwards and upwards! Extending the growing season  Placing a greenhouse on top of the ground is like changing the climate above the ground where it sits, which in turn affects the average yearly ground temperature at the greenhouse location. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the length of the growing season in an uninsulated greenhouse is similar to the length of the outdoor growing season one climate zone south. For us, the length of our growing season in Climate Zone 6a in a greenhouse would be about the same as the length of the outdoor growing season in Climate Zone 5. The effect is a combination of things. First, the temperature of the greenhouse will typically be greater than outside, and second, some of the heat collected by the greenhouse is conducted into the ground inside the greenhouse, providing thermal mass that resists freezing. Below grade, R-8 wing insulation will extend out from the structure about 8 feet all the way around. The thermal resistance of the ground is highly variable and dependent on its many individual components. In our case, R-8 insulation will be equivalent to about 2 1/2 feet of earth. Once the earth is bermed on the north side, the bottom of the greenhouse will effectively be at about 8 feet. The south side will effectively be at between 4 and 5 feet, so the thermal mass below the greenhouse is definitely protected from the winter frost and will provide a huge thermal mass for cruising through the winter months. As a protective measure, a vapor barrier around the foundation will run out to the perimeter drain like an umbrella, preventing water from stripping away heat from the thermal mass. Making an underground heat battery Storing heat for use at a later time is not easy. Heat moves–always from hot to cold. But this can be used to our advantage. The greenhouse is really just a large solar collector. Most people who own a greenhouse know that it can get so hot that plants will die, so the heat must be vented. Although our greenhouse will have vents for use as needed, I want to increase the sphere of influence of the underground thermal bubble by charging the ground like a climate battery. A climate battery is really just a system of ducts below ground. You use a fan to push hot air from the peak of the greenhouse underground. The air loses heat to the ground and cools before it exits back into the greenhouse. My plan is to insulate the ground partially above the battery so that the heat conducts mainly downwards into the cool earth rather than back into the greenhouse. As the greenhouse begins to cool in the winter, it becomes a heat sink and heat from the ground will move towards it and keep it from freezing inside. This idea is not new and has many names: climate battery, GAHT, SHCS, etc. These are a little different than what people call annualized geo-solar. Once the system is up and running it will behave like a combination of a climate battery and an annualized geo-solar system. After a lot of back-breaking work, the site for the greenhouse was ready for construction. Photo: David Goodyear Site work was a grueling task. I spent my spare time in April clearing trees, windfall, stumps, twigs, and brush, and then chipping all the piles of debris. Luckily I have several cubic meters of wood chips that I can use for composting later. So the hard work paid off with a clear site and lots of chips. Components of the underground thermal storage system are in place. Photo: David Goodyear Once the site was ready I marked out the foundation, perimeter drain, and the location of the climate battery. It took about a day to install all the components (see the photo above), and another day to tamp the area for the concrete footing. Ready for footings! BLOGS BY DAVID GOODYEAR A Winter Update A Garden and a Sun Shade Air Sealing the Penetrations Blower Door Test Comes Up Roses Wrapping Up the Air Barrier Firing Up the Heating System Laying Out the Mechanical System Framing and Insulating an Interior Service Wall Insulation and an Air Barrier Installing Windows and Doors Foam Sheathing and Window Details Framing and Air Sealing A Well Insulated Slab Footings and Frost Walls A Final Design and Energy Modeling An Introduction to the Flatrock Passive Houselast_img read more

West Bengal gets a State emblem, designed by Mamata

first_imgThe official emblem of West Bengal was unveiled by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on January 5. The emblem designed by Ms. Banerjee features the Ashoka Pillar.“We had to do this (create the State emblem) 70 years after Independence because it has never been thought of before. No one here thought that every State should have its individuality,” the Chief Minister said during the ceremony to unveil emblem at the State Secretariat Nabanna. She also said that the West Bengal government received the Centre’s approval for the emblem on January 3.Describing the occasion as “historic”, the Chief Minister said that henceforth the State emblem can be used in all the official work and documents of the State government. “We will use the emblem in all the official documents and work of the State government after issuing notification from today. But executing the process in all the departments will take some time,” Ms. Banerjee said.“Some States have their own emblem and some don’t. When it came to our notice, an expert committee was set up and the design was sent to the Centre for approval. It took quiet sometime but better late than never,” said Ms. Banerjee. The design was sent for Central approval in May 2017.As for changing the name of the State, the Chief Minister said that it will be announced as soon as the Centre approves it. “We have also sent a request to the Centre about changing the name of the State. Discussions are being held and as soon as we get the official approval we will announce it,” she said. Her Cabinet decided in September 2017 that the State’s name will be Bangla in all the languages.last_img read more


first_imgThe profile of touch football in Australia is continuing to grow, with the latest media watch statistics showing touch football news has reached around 9 million people in the first three months of this year. Australian Touch Association CEO, Bill Ker says the statistics are both exciting and also interesting for the development and promotion of touch football in the media arena. “The Australian Touch Association has embarked on a twelve month media watch campaign to obtain an understanding of the extent of mentions the sport has in the media nationally,” says Mr Ker. “”The media for the past three months has been extensive with a wide reach nationally.” “It was also determined to extend the boundaries of the watch to cover New Zealand as well, because this will enable the ATA to not only quantify the media coverage in Australia but compare it with coverage from the other largest international member of the Federation of International Touch,” explains Mr Ker. The month of March saw touch football receive 138 mentions in the print, radio, television or online media. This was double the number of mentions for the months of January and February. In terms of audience numbers, it is estimated that these 138 stories reached almost 3.2 million people. This result, combined with the results recorded for January and February, shows touch football news has reached around 6.4 million people this year alone through the forms of print, radio or television. Mr Ker says the internet is another big winner in terms of coverage, with the ATA website recording a record number of hits in recent months. “Especially pleasing for the ATA is the homepage hits of over 3.5 million since November last year. The month of March produced 40,000 hits short of 1 million, which is a direct reflection of the interest the NTL generates. The ATA has studied the usage patterns of the homepage and is aiming the direction of the homepage information towards servicing those usage trends,” Mr Ker highlights. Since the beginning of the year almost 2.6 million hits have been recorded by the ATA, while at the peak of the NTL competition over 65,000 hits were recorded in just one day. It also needs to be mentioned that these statistics on internet usage relate purely to the ATA website and do not include statistics on the other international, state and local websites, who have also noticed an improvement in their website hits. Therefore these statistics can be said to be just the tip of the iceberg! By far the biggest improver in media coverage of touch was the number of television news stories. The month of March saw 20 touch football news stories produced, being primarily in state and regional news broadcasts. This number is also almost double the total number for January and February combined. In terms of audience numbers, the television coverage is estimated to have reached just over 500,000 for January and February, and over 800,000 for the month of March. The print media, which includes local, regional, state and national newspapers, reached the largest audience, with 83 stories published and an estimated number of almost 2.2 million readers. Wagga Wagga, Yass and several Western Australian media outlets are doing especially well, receiving regular coverage of their local and regional events in print and on radio and television. The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are other areas becoming more regular in the coverage touch football receives there. Coffs Harbour and the NTL’s were also successful, with the tournament being reported on the daily regional television news bulletins, as well as securing print and radio stories. With regional media outlets always searching for news stories, especially those of local interest, it is important for the ATA and all state and local organisations to continue to look for opportunities for touch football development through the media. “All in all the ATA is very pleased with the results of the media watch and the homepage usage and looks forward with confidence to a wider awareness of this great sport in the forthcoming months,” says Mr Ker. Rachel Moyle, 0422233165last_img read more

2012 State Of Origin Referees Announced

first_imgThe 2012 State of Origin Series will be held on Friday, 21 September and Saturday, 22 September 2012 at the Port Macquarie Regional Sports Stadium and will be held in conjunction with the Touch Football Australia 2012 X-Blades National Youth Championships event. To view the list, please click on the media release below. Related Files2012_soo_referees_announcement1-pdflast_img

2016 NTL Day Two Wrap

first_imgBy Eden Richards Teams will be putting it all on the line as they head into day three chasing a finals berth. Several competitions are evenly poised heading into the final day of fixtures.Injuries featured heavily on day two as many teams struggled with the extreme Coffs Harbour heat taking its toll. The Brisbane City Cobras sit undefeated at the top of the Mixed Open competition with the South Queensland Sharks and Sydney Rebels sitting 2nd and 3rd respectively. The Sydney Mets round out the top four. The Sydney Mets are the stand out team in the Men’s T League Pool A as they continue a strong undefeated run. Pool B is a Queensland affair with the Central Queensland Bulls (A) sitting undefeated on top and the South Queensland Sharks (A) just one win behind. It’s a two horse race in the Women’s T League Pool A as both the Hunter Western Hornets and Victoria sit on five wins from five starts.The two leaders will play tomorrow morning to decide who finishes first. Pool B is being dominated by Queensland with the top five teams all coming from the region. The Sunshine Coast Pineapples sit undefeated in 1st.The Sharks and the Rebels cannot be separated after day two of the Women’s 27’s with both sitting 10 points clear at the top of the standings. The Scorpions are the team to beat in the Men’s 30’s as they round out the 2nd day of competition undefeated. In a huge gap in the class the Hornets have failed to win a game and will look to disrupt the finals chances of their competitors tomorrow. The Pineapples and the Hornets are battling it out for 2nd and 3rd in the Women’s 35’s as the Cobras sit top. A clear top four has emerged in the Men’s 40’s with the Hornets, Mets and Cobras all undefeated. The Defence Warriors are chasing hard in 4th. The South West Queensland Swans remain undefeated in the Women’s 40’s with the North Queensland Tropical Cyclones and the Hornets sitting one game behind. The Scorpions and the Sharks have all but secured the top two spots in the Men’s 45’s and the Men’s 50’s. The Cyclones and the Southern Suns are dominating in Pool A of the Men’s 55’s and the Mets today extended their unbeaten run to four games in Pool B. The Senior Mixed is a battle between three with the Sharks A, Suns and Scorpions all sitting together at the top of the table on 16 points. Related LinksNTL Day Two Wraplast_img read more

10 months agoNew absence for Real Madrid attacker Bale

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say New absence for Real Madrid attacker Baleby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveGareth Bale is set to be missing for another two weeks at Real Madrid.The Welsh international suffered a calf problem in the 2-2 draw against Villarreal.First tests have revealed he will be sidelined for around two weeks, although he will undergo further tests. Therefore, Bale will miss the games against Real Sociedad, Leganes (Copa del Rey) and Real Betis, but he could re-appear for the second leg of the Copa del Rey clash with Leganes if all goes well. If he doesn’t make that on time, his objective will be to be fit again for the vital league game against Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu on Jan. 19. last_img read more

Stena Line Adds Another Ship to KarlskronaGdynia Service

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: Stena Line Swedish ferry company Stena Line has increased its capacity between Karlskrona and Gdynia with the addition of another ship on the route.The company said that its 170-meter-long Stena Nordica entered the service as the fourth ship to connect the Sweden and Poland on October 6, in an effort to meet the strong demand in growth for freight and passengers.Previously, the route was operated with three RoPax vessels and one cargo vessel. With Stena Nordica, the route is now operating with four RoPax vessels, which will provide freight and passengers with a choice of up to four departures a day from each port.“We have had strong growth in recent years, and we are still experiencing a strong demand for increased capacity from both freight customers and passengers. This means we must continue to invest and adjust our tonnage to match the needs of our customers, and to add the Stena Nordica on this route is a very important step,” Marek Kiersnowski, Trade Director of Stena Line’s routes between Sweden and Poland, said.The 2000-built Stena Nordica, which has been refurbished and modernized both internally and externally, will sail on the route with Stena Vision, Stena Spirit and Stena Baltica.The unit has a passenger capacity of 450 and a loading capacity of 1,950 lane meters.last_img read more