Chico Hot Springs Resort Greenhouse


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.


Chico Hot Springs Resort

Chico Hot Springs Resort -- Horse Barn


Geothermal Greenhouse:

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. 




Chico Hot Springs Resort -- Geothermal Greenhouse

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.



Double wall poly construction of greenhouse

View showing how tight the poly skins are.  The two poly sheets are clamped into a slot on the end wall. 
See detail below.

End wall poly clamping arrangement for greenhouse


View of clamps that secure the two poly sheets to the end frame.




















Double wall greenhouse between wall inflation setupDouble wall greenhouse between wall inflation setup


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.



Greenhouse framing overview

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.



Greenhouse framing roof detail

More of the framing.


Greenhouse framing sidewall detail

More of the framing, showing the diagonal bracing.  Note the geothermal supplied hot water lines for heating.



Greenhouse end wall arrangement

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.



Geothermal Heating:

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.


geothermal heat distribution piping for greenhouse

Hot water distribution tubes along the walls, and in the beds.


geothermal heat distribution piping for greenhouse -- walls


geothermal heat distribution piping for greenhouse -- beds


Hot water distribution pipes along the walls, and smaller tubes to warm the benches.


geothermal water distribution manifold

The manifold that controls the distribution of hot springs water to the greenhouse.




Jeanie, Joan and Kristy.







Gary 2/11/06