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Grantee Research Project Results

The Affordable Bioshelters Project: Testing Innovative Technologies, Working to Make High Performance Solar Greenhouses Cost Competitive

EPA Grant Number: SU833170
Title: The Affordable Bioshelters Project: Testing Innovative Technologies, Working to Make High Performance Solar Greenhouses Cost Competitive
Investigators: Scanlin, Dennis
Current Investigators: Raichle, Brian W. , Black, Henry , Bryant, Andy , Duus, Mike , Fulton, Andrew , Fulton, David , Hackett, Sean , House, Caroline , Martin, Jack , Oswald, Stony Roscoe , Short, Weston , Smith, Joe , Strauch, Yonatan , Taddonio, Brian , Tudiver, Jannah , Zhang, Q. , Zuazmaa, Zola
Institution: Appalachian State University
Current Institution: Appalachian State University , University of Manitoba
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: September 30, 2006 through May 30, 2007
Project Amount: $9,998
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2006)
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Energy , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development



The purpose of this action is to request approval of a new grant assistance agreement between Appalachian State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The proposed project was submitted to the EPA in response to the 2005 solicitation for RFA 2005-P3-Z3 for the 3rd Annual P3 Award: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity, and the Planet.

As the environmental and economic cost of fossil fuel heating in greenhouses mounts, there is now a challenge of designing greenhouses that are affordable and powered renewably. While solar greenhouses have proven that solar heat alone can maintain flora in the winter, they are expensive to build, and the challenge remains to develop more cost-effective designs. The project aims to optimize a bioshelter design to conserve energy reducing the demand for fossil fuels and subsequently the air emissions and associated human health and environmental risks from energy production. The technologies to be evaluated in the bioshelters include the use of liquid-foam between glazing layers; a moisture control system using sub-soil, phase change heat storage; and a back-up heat/carbon dioxide system, which utilizes compost exhaust. The performance of each component will be quantified in terms of temperature, humidity, light, and yield. By developing technologies for these variables and optimizing the bioshelter design, the energy demand for greenhouse gas systems in the winter can be reduced. This will mitigate environmental and human health effects currently associated with meeting this energy demand.

Expected Results:

Researchers will use laboratory and field studies as well as model simulations to optimize the design of bioshelters and reduce the need for fossil fuel energy inputs to meet technical performance criteria. In particular, the study will investigate three novel technologies aimed at maintaining desired heat, moisture, and light levels during winter conditions. In addition, this study will suggest the contribution of this technology, if widely implemented, to reduce current levels of air emissions associated with energy production from fossil fuels. Consistent with Goal 5, this research is expected to advance the overall scientific understanding of optimized bioshelter design for performance in cold seasons or climates. This project will provide a science-based assessment of these various technologies under moderate to extreme climate conditions.

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, Atmosphere, environmental monitoring, energy conservation, bioshelter, sustainable development, green design, environmental sustainability, ecological design, solar greenhouse, energy efficiency, solar energy

Relevant Websites:

Phase 2 Abstract

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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