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The City of Springfield is considering building a 30,000 square foot greenhouse. The facility would be powered by renewable energy, and could be used to grow fresh vegetables. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark has details.
The city’s Solid Waste Management Division plans to team up with the Noble Hill Renewable Energy Project to create a greenhouse that will grow produce year round.
Barbara Lucks works as the Interim Sustainability Officer for the city. She explains a little bit about the practical uses of a greenhouse, and how the city plans to capture renewable energy to power it.
“Well the project is actually a feasibility study for a commercial greenhouse—we’re talking a large greenhouse, 30,000 square feet, which is about the size of a football field. This would be operated from waste energy that is generated at the energy center at the Springfield Sanitary Landfill.”
The waste energy is actually methane gas that’s produced naturally out of the landfill during the decomposition process. Already, the city harvests this gas and uses it to generate electricity—enough to power 2,300 homes.
Lucks says that provides enough heat to regulate temperature in the greenhouse. The idea: to use, or in other words—recycle—energy that would otherwise be wasted.
Last week, the city held an open house at the Nathaniel Greene Botanical Gardens, where the city would build the greenhouse. Members of the community were welcome to come and hear about the plans, as well as voice their opinions. Lucks says there are many options right now as to the use of the new facility, but a couple of ideas seem to be popular with most people.
“There’s lots of options and several ways to go, but one of the things that we’re kind of interested in is the idea of locally produced fresh vegetables and fresh food. That seems to be something that’s resonating with almost everyone we spoke with.”
Because no plans have been finalized, Lucks says the cost of the project is hard to say right now. Lucks did say that the city wouldn’t have to worry about buying land for the project since the proposed land is already owned by the city.
“We really don’t know for sure. It will be fairly expensive, and we do not have a funding source, but again, those are all some of the things we’re looking at in this feasibility study.”
A greenhouse project such as this one has been proposed at other energy facilities like Springfield’s around the country. So far, these projects have been successful. Lucks says it’s new technology, but Springfield wouldn’t be the first to try it.
For more information, you can contact the city’s Department of Environmental Services at 864-1919.
For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.