Sam Green with some tomatoes

Sam Green with some tomatoes

Rooftop greenhouse to use recycled energy

The greenhouse on top of the laundromat and Skeena Bakery in New Hazelton is now filled with growing vegetables.

The greenhouse on top of the laundromat and Skeena Bakery in New Hazelton is now filled with growing vegetables.

The owners of the building on Highway 16 needed a new roof a couple of years ago and thought to put a greenhouse on top instead. They recently contacted Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition to help get things growing in there.

Energy Solutions coordinator Greg Horne said a group of gardeners has come together to work in the rooftop greenhouse. There are now 15 raised beds full of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, beans and corn.

Horne said ideally, they’d like to grow vegetables year round and are coming up with ways to keep the place warm in the winter.

“There are three sources of heat.” Horne said. “One is the laundromat dryers, and the bakery also has an exhaust fan that blows out heat from the bread oven. The other source is excess solar heat that collects in the greenhouse. It will get up to 50, 60 degrees Celsius on really hot days without the fans turned on. So we are working on a system where we are going to put a huge tank of water down in the crawl space of the building and we are going to use the solar heat to heat up that tank of water and then that water will be used to keep the greenhouse warm during the night.”

Horne said the gardeners will get first pick of the vegetables to share with their families and everything else will be sold in the community. A veggie stand will be put out on days that don’t conflict with the farmers market and all the proceeds will go back into the greenhouse.

Anyone interested in joining the gardening group can contact Horne at Skeena Energy Solutions.

An open house will be held on June 27 for the public to come and check it out.