Agromillora Florida Greenhouse Project
Wildwood, FL United States | 2015
At latitude 42.10° N and longitude 102.87° W sits the small community of Alliance, Nebraska, where winter temperatures can dip below -25°F with wind chill factors at times falling well below -50°F. The words dry, cold and formidable are an accurate description for winter in this part of the country. This is not the kind of place you expect to grow some of the best citrus fruits in the country, but that’s exactly what’s happening in Alliance.
Hot-dip galvanizing was chosen as a critical aspect to the greenhouse design
45 years ago, retired Postal worker, Russ Finch, designed and built his home and a small attached greenhouse with the idea of using underground geo-thermal heat to keep his house warm in the harsh Nebraska winter. Russ developed an ingenuous system of tubes to capture the earth’s underground heat and it worked so well to keep him warm and grow his personal produce year round that he built a larger greenhouse and spent several years learning just what he could grow in this highly efficient geo–thermal heated space.
Russ’s design uses 4” diameter tubes he routes 8’ underground that travel as far or farther than 230’ before returning to the greenhouse. The number of tubes varies depending on the greenhouse location and the distance the air must travel underground to attain the desired temperature. Small blowers circulate the air through the tubes, pulling colder air out and returning warmer air into the greenhouse where fans move the air throughout the building. The air, that is warmed just by the earths underground heat, maintains an overall wintertime temperature in the greenhouse of 52°F. This consistent wintertime temperature makes it possible for Russ to grow his produce including a variety of oranges, lemons and more than 10 other exotic fruits year-round. Surprisingly, it turns out that the 42.10°N latitude of Alliance is ideal for growing citrus, and Russ would confidently compare his fruits to those produced anywhere in the world.
This highly efficient geo-thermal greenhouse can be operated for as little as $0.80 per day to run the electric fans and lighting.
Russ wanted to share his knowledge and experience so that others could enjoy the same benefits of utilizing free geo-thermal heat. In 2009 Russ teamed up with longtime friend and local machine shop owner – Allen Bright to develop and build greenhouse kits to offer the general public and so “Greenhouses in the Snow” was born.
Russ and Allen wanted the best products to construct their Greenhouses to ensure long life sustainability in the high humidity environment of a greenhouse, so they chose hot-dip galvanizing to protect the structural steel tube framework as a critical aspect to their greenhouse design.
Hot-dip galvanizing provides the highly desired, long term, maintenance free protection from corrosion on both the internal and external surfaces of the structural greenhouse framework. Hot-dip galvanizing was so important to Russ and Allen that they transport their steel tube components 400 miles each way to be hot-dip galvanized. Galvanizing the greenhouse steel can be accomplished in as little as 5-10 days, allowing Russ and Allen to react quickly to the rapidly growing demand for personal greenhouse kits.
Today’s basic Greenhouse in the Snow can be erected in just a few weeks at a cost of about $25,000. The latest designs can include automated controls and solar panels with attached solar batteries to allow for growing totally off the grid. Aquaponics, where fish tanks are incorporated into the design to fertilize the plants and hydroponics where plants are grown without soil, are new options for today’s Greenhouse in the Snow owners.
What Russ Finch started and began learning 45 years ago is now being shared all around the country and beyond, with orders for the Greenhouse in the Snow kits increasing every month.
Russ and Allen will continue to help others enhance their lives with this incredible system and hot-dip galvanizing will continue to protect the critical framework for a lifetime and beyond!
Food & Agriculture
Alliance, NE United States
Coating Durability, Corrosion Performance, Ease of Specifying, Initial Cost, Life-Cycle Cost, Prior HDG Experience, Quality of HDG, Sustainability, Turnaround Time
Structural Tube Framework and Couplers
Greenhouse in the Snow
Greenhouse in the Snow
Greenhouse in the Snow
AZZ Galvanizing - Denver
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