NOPRI is designing and building low-cost, energy efficient greenhouses for season extension and winter production in Northern Ontario.
Traditional glass or plastic film greenhouses are poorly insulated and typically heated in the cold seasons with fossil fuels at great expense. Modern technologies such as multi-wall polycarbonate glazing, in-ground thermal batteries, styrofoam insulation, and LED lighting can make greenhouses much more efficient, but the upfront costs are too expensive for large-scale adoption by agriculture. NOPRI aims to reduce the cost of winter greenhouses with innovative designs and material recycling.
Our goal is to enable local production of fresh food throughout all of Canada’s seasons – an achievement which would benefit food security and the environment. We also believe that local food production can nurture community resilience and health through better nutrition, enjoyment of gardening, and education.
In 2016 we constructed a prototype 100 square foot greenhouse optimized for the homestead scale. In 2017 we built a second 100 square foot greenhouse at the NEMI community garden site, with some design variations. Using data logging with temperature and humidity sensors, we are tracking and comparing the performance of our designs to enable further iterative improvements. In 2018 we are building a 10X larger (1000sqft) “farm” scale model, and have plans to build 10,000 sqft “production” scale greenhouses in future years.