Sustainable Living: World’s First Solar Greenhouse at Little River Flower Farm

Interview with the owner of the World’s First Solar Greenhouse at Little River Flower Farm in Buxton, Maine. We were honored to have the opportunity to visit and learn about the solar technology used at this organic and sustainable farm. We interviewed owner Bruce Stedman about his 6,400 square foot solar greenhouse which was developed together with Maine Technology Institute and Maine Sustainable Agriculture over three years ago.

The greenhouse features flexible solar panels that have the dual function of generating green energy as well as cooling the greenhouse in the summer, making it economically and environmentally sustainable. The greenhouse was built with steel and pultruded fiber glass with flexible solar panels laminated onto the roof which provide a peak output of 14.4kW (1.2 mega watt per month), powering all pumps and fans and is a net-zero energy structure during the summer months.

The greenhouse incorporates 14 raised grow beds and a root zone radiant heat system powered by a biomass wood pellet boiler. This system uses heated water pipes that allow for precise temperature control to each individual raised bed with minimal excess heat loss.

Bruce explained how this greenhouse was built and also talks about their next project starting in 2020, a new prototype of sustainable greenhouse called the Growbox which will serve as a demonstration facility. The new structure can be moved and used for different purposes from growing, farming to offices and government buildings during crisis situations etc.

Owners Bruce and Nancy Stedman have been growing certified organic produce and flowers at their farm called Little River Flower Farm in Buxton, Maine for the past 20 years. Their solar greenhouse is used to grow organic food and flowers 365 days per year. The couple provides their locally grown food to surrounding grocery chains, markets and restaurants. Besides working on their farm, Nancy also leads their flower cutting and floral arrangement business and Bruce leads their landscaping business and together they built a beautiful tiny house which can be rented via Airbnb.

Please visit their website for more information:
https://www.littleriverflowerfarm.com/

Watch our video about their Airbnb here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKnrOaxXSao&t=28s

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Sustainable Living: Interview With Little River Flower Farm / Cottage / Wedding Flowers

The Little River Flower Farm Airbnb is a lovely, rustic Post and Beam Cottage with pine wood interior, Eco-friendly construction and interior design. The Tiny Home has a separate bedroom with queen size bed, a kitchen and dining area and a bathroom with shower, toilet and hot water. This Airbnb has heating and air conditioning for comfort through all four seasons, it is a laptop friendly workspace and provides all the amenities for a relaxing stay.

This Airbnb is located at the Little River Flower Farm in Buxton, Maine, just 30 minutes outside the coastal city of Portland Maine and close to many of Maine’s finest breweries and restaurants. The farm grows organic vegetables, fruits and berries, and over 3 acres of perennial and annual organic cut flowers that are sold locally as well as offered as “pick your own”, perfect for weddings, parties and other special occasions.

The farm is also a sanctuary for a few chickens that are roaming freely and happily. Airbnb guests are welcome to walk the grounds and take joy in viewing the beautiful flowers and vegetables that are growing from May to October. Great hiking trails and a private path along the Little River are accessible from the Airbnb and even in the winter months snowshoeing, cross country skiing and ice skating are outdoor activities that are available in the area.

Airbnb Listing for Little River Flower Farm Cottage: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/28367302

Please visit the Little River Flower Farm website for more info including Wedding Flowers:
http://www.littleriverflowerfarm.com

Email Little River Flower Farm for volunteer and work inquiries: lrff@sacoriver.net

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Sustainable Living: Interview with Omega Center for Sustainable Living and Omega Institute

Omega Institute for Holistic Studies is a non-profit educational, retreat center located in Rhinebeck, New York and houses the Omega Center for Sustainable Living. We had the honor to visit the Omega campus and speak to Chrissa Santoro, the Director of External Communications and talk about the many eco-friendly initiatives and holistic programs that Omega offers.

Sustainable Living: Interview with Omega Center for Sustainable Living and Omega Institute

The interview was held at The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) which was opened in 2009 and was the first building ever to achieve both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge™ certification—the highest environmental performance standards available.

The OCSL is an environmental education center and hosts a greenhouse and state-of-the art Eco-Machine™, a natural water reclamation facility that has reclaimed 45M gallons of wastewater during the last 10 years since it was opened. The Eco-Machine™ uses plants, bacteria, algae, snails, and fungi to turn Omega’s wastewater into clean water which is then used to restore the aquifer.

The majority of the building is built with reclaimed wood, and a small amount of the wood is sourced from FSC Certified Forests. The building uses geothermal technology for heating and cooling and utilizes 211 solar panels to generate 134.2 kw/day.

The center is designed to generate more electricity than it uses and in the last 10 years it saved a total of 867K pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

Omega’s campus has numerous additional eco-friendly initiatives to prevent waste and reduce its environmental impact that range from recycling, composting, conservation of resources, supporting sustainable agriculture and local businesses by offering farm-to-table meals that are locally sourced and mostly organically grown and powering 100% of campus electricity through the purchase of wind and solar power.

Besides the OCSL, Omega provides over 350 educational workshops and events annually that range from: body, mind, and spirit to creative expression, to leadership and work, health and healing, relationships and family, and sustainable living. Omega’s commitment to creating a climate for positive change extends beyond workshops and R&R retreats, through other key initiatives and programs including the Omega Women’s Leadership Center, work with Veterans that offers programs and scholarships for Veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, Yoga Service which brings yoga practice to underserved populations such as prisons, senior homes, and schools with at-risk youth, as well as programs that bring mindfulness practice to educational institutions and healthcare providers.

To learn more about the Omega Institute of Holistic Studies and the Omega Center for Sustainable Living please visit their website: https://www.eomega.org

Omega’s Social Media Channels:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eOmega.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Omega_Institute
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/omega-institute-cp
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/OmegaInstitute/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheOmegaInstitute
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/OmegaInstitute/

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