Topic outline

  • General

    Finishing the greenhouse: collaborative research & action

    Faculty: Kyhl Lyndgaard, Todd Smith

    Co-Instructors: Kenton Card, Don Capponcelli, Randy Knaggs

    A new community designed and built greenhouse provides Marlboro with a sturdy, attractive space for year-round farm-related activities. Now what?

    Join the team that will begin to answer this question. The Marlboro Community Greenhouse is largely finished. But how will it be used? The purpose of this course is to bring together a team of faculty, staff, and students to study the performance of the greenhouse and how it can be integrated into the farm. For example: How much light does the greenhouse receive? How much heat does it retain? What kinds of plants are a good match between the performance of the building and the community’s needs? The course will be rooted in collaborative and site-specific learning: i.e. place-based pedagogy. We will generate empirical data on the greenhouse, coalesce the criteria into design solutions, and construct the project(s).

    Students will be expected to contribute weekly to a class blog. Students interested in this class should be able to conceptualize problems in the arts and sciences, work well in teams, and not mind getting their hands dirty.

    • Unit 1 - Measurement

      Week 2     January 27 & 30

      2a Monday:  Defining the Question & Problem, Collaboration, Method & Assignment Expectations (Card, Capponcelli, Knaggs, Lyndgaard)

      Reading: Pedagogy of the oppressed, Chapter 2 (PDF below if needed)

      Writing: Respond to the reading on the Forum here on this page. 

      2b Thursday: Measurement 1: build, program & deploy instruments (Smith)

      Reading: The Future of American Colleges May Lie, Literally, in Students' Hands, by S. Carlson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/5/12

      Please also read about the light and temperature logger we'll be making, as well as the description of making a good solder joint. More detailed instructions can be found below under "building the data logger."


      Week 3    February 3 & 6

      3a: Measurement 2: download data & create graphical presentations (Smith & Card)

      Reading:  Measuring daily light integral in a greenhouse, by A. Torres and R. Lopez, Purdue University

      3b: Measurement 3: interpret data - greenhouse performance (Smith & Capponcelli)

      Reading:  Keeping the heat in the greenhouse, by C. Heeschen, Chapter 3 in The solar greenhouse book. JC McCullagh, ed. 1978.


      Week 4    February 10 & 13

      4a: Field-trip to other greenhouses – (Knaggs & Capponcelli)

      4b: Measurement 4: interpret data - cold weather crops? (Smith & Card)

    • Unit 2 - passive solar design & greenhouse projects

      Week 7     March 3 & 6

          7a: Design Process and Interventions – Card & Capponcelli

        • Introduction to Design-build methodology
        • Divide up and articulate project goals

          7b: Passive Solar Design, Evaluate Greenhouse & Proposals – Capponcelli & Knaggs

        • Discuss Chapter 2 of The Solar Greenhouse Book
        • Apply concepts to Greenhouse and calculate heat storage as a group
        • Workshop proposals in individual groups

      Week 8    March 10 & 13

          8a: Thermal House Blower-door Test – Capponcelli & Card

        • Test followed by discussion on performance and interventions

          8b:   Oral and Visual Proposal presentations  – Capponcelli & Knaggs

        • Open critique and feedback from all students and instructors
        • System parameters, components, and cost estimates



      Optional Architectural Design Workshop

        • Visiting Estonian Architect Jaan Kuusements from DAGOpen OÜ


      Week 9    March 31 & April 3

          9a: Solar design, building orientation, and photovoltaic (PV) system

      – Card and Capponcelli

          9b: Components of a PV system

        • discussion with David Wirth, Perkins Home Center?