NOPRI is designing and building 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, ETFE film, in-ground thermal batteries, styrofoam insulation, and LED lighting can make greenhouses much more efficient, but the upfront costs have generally been prohibitively expensive for large-scale adoption by agriculture. NOPRI aims to reduce the cost of winter greenhouses with innovative designs and local material recycling.
If implemented well, local production of fresh food throughout all of Canada’s seasons would improve nutrition, create local food security, and reduce the environment impact of food transportation. We also believe that local food production can nurture community resilience, dignity and health through the enjoyment of gardening / self sufficiency and through educational programs enabled by the greenhouses.
In 2016 we constructed a small (100 sqft) winter-optimized prototype greenhouse and in 2017 we built a second 100 square foot greenhouse at the NEMI community garden site, this time optimized for all-season use. Using data logging with temperature and humidity sensors, we are tracking and comparing the performance of our designs to enable further iterative improvements. We are currently constructing a 1000 sqft prototype and will scale to 10,000 sqft “production” scale greenhouses in future years.