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Geothermal Greenhouse Lets You Grow Sustainable Crops In The Cold

By Brian Spaen

In the Midwest, everything moves indoors during the winter growing season. Farmers markets in bigger cities are transferred from major roads to inside community buildings, and crops are raised in greenhouses that generally use a lot of fossil fuels. However, green energy sources could provide a more sustainable way to raise fruits and vegetables, and a former mailman from Nebraska has been able to achieve that using geothermal heating.

Russ Finch is part of the group that’s built a “Greenhouse in the Snow.” Starting in Nebraska 20 years ago, the community has now spawned 17 of them across six different states in America and in Canada. The very first greenhouse is attached to Finch’s home, and his initial goal was to grow a variety of produce without the need of extra electricity.

To accomplish this task, Finch decided to use internal heat from the Earth to mostly power the greenhouse. This process is done by planting a perforated plastic tube and loops it from one end of the greenhouse to the other. A fan is used to move heat through these tubes. Even when the temperatures are close to zero degrees outside in the winter, this warmth kept the greenhouse at least above 28 degrees.