Impacts of Geothermal Energy Technology for Agriculture

About the Project

The Dartmouth Big Green-Energy House: Impacts of Geothermal Energy Technology for Agriculture
Principal Investigator: Assistant Professor Theresa Ong (Environmental Studies)
Project Team:  Assistant Professor Caitlin Hicks Pries (Biological Sciences); Laura Braasch (staff, Sustainability Office); Molly McBride (staff, Sustainability Office): Alana Danieu (Research Asst), and undergraduate and graduate students

Project Abstract: Greenhouses are widely implemented tools for extending the growing season and making local food systems viable in cold regions, generating $48.3 million on just 4.5 million square feet of land in NH and VT in 2017. (USDA, 2017). However, most greenhouses are fossil fuel dependent, poorly insulated structures that require extensive and costly heating and lighting inputs during winter. In order to understand and resolve farmer barriers to clean-energy transitions, this project partners Dartmouth '21s enrolled in the capstone course of the Environmental Studies Department, ENVS50, with local farmers interested in reducing their carbon footprint. Students will design and construct a new clean-energy greenhouse at the Dartmouth Organic Farm that balances the needs of farmers, faculty, and students while utilizing passive solar measure greenhouse emissions and crop productivity to assess the energetics, ecology, and economics of the greenhouse. Broadly, we intend for the "Dartmouth Big Green-Energy House" to serve as a lighthouse model and testing site for local farmers interested in sustainable four-season production while simultaneously providing environmental consulting and research experience for our students and fresh, nutritious, low-emission produce for our community.