Chico Hot Springs is a great mountain resort located about 30 miles north of Yellowstone National Park in the Paradise Valley. Lots to do -- hot springs, hiking, fishing, horse back riding. AND they are a dog friendly!
They also have the innovative geothermally heated greenhouse that is described below.
The resort maintains a greenhouse to grow organic produce for the onsite restaurants. The greenhouse is interesting in that it is partially heated by water from the hot springs. The greenhouse is run by Jeanie, who was nice enough to let us take some pictures and ask a lot of questions.
The pictures below show 1) the general construction of the double wall greenhouse, 2) the geothermal heating feature, and 3) some of the details of the venting and other systems.
The Chico Hot Springs geothermal greenhouse
Framing and Double Wall Construction:
The greenhouse uses a galvanized steel frame, with two layers of poly film pulled tight over the frame and clamped into the greenhouse end walls. A small blower inflates the space between the two layers of poly to provided a double wall, which greatly reduces heat loss from the greenhouse. This appears to work quite well.
View showing how tight the poly skins
are. The two poly sheets are clamped into a slot on the end wall.
See detail below.
View of clamps that secure the two poly sheets to the end frame.
The small blower that inflates the space between the two poly sheets to separate the two poly skins with a layer of insulating air. The blower is in the right picture, and sits on the outside of the East wall. The picture on the left shows the duct that connects the blower outlet to the inflation point, where blower air inflates the space between the two poly sheets.
View of the metal framing. The pictures were taken in mid February -- during other times of year, the greenhouse has a good deal more growing in it.
More of the framing.
More of the framing, showing the diagonal bracing. Note the geothermal supplied hot water lines for heating.
End wall of greenhouse. End
walls are lumber framed with twinwall polycarbonate glazing.
The propane heater is used during times when the hot springs supplied water is not able to provide enough heat -- the greenhouse is used year round.
The greenhouse is heated by hot water piped from the nearby hot springs. Some of the heating pipes extend around the periphery of the greenhouse along the lower part of the walls, and some of the heating pipes are in the soil.
While the hot springs water provides a good deal of the greenhouse heat, and backup gas heater is used when needed.
Hot water distribution tubes along the walls, and in the beds.
Hot water distribution pipes along the walls, and smaller tubes to warm the benches.
The manifold that controls the distribution of hot springs water to the greenhouse.
Jeanie, Joan and Kristy.