This is where it all begins.

First off before we go on any further we should get a little background on how it was decided to build a solar greenhouse in Crested Butte South.  So as mentioned in the About the Project page, this is Kara’s pet project and I assume she has wanted to build some sort of greenhouse since she was a little kid.  She just needed everything to come together and she has been on a knowledge gathering journey of her own to find out the best way to create a year round greenhouse with travels to Canada, Oregon and California.  We will get into all of the different techniques that Kara has learned along the way, as many if not all will be implemented into the design and build of this greenhouse.

As for now, we take the first step on the journey to build the ‘Crested Butte Solar Greenhouse.’

Initial Design

We started the design process a couple of weeks ago with a lot of phone calls, text and emails.  Thing is, that is how we have to go through the design process as Kara is living in California and won’t be back to Crested Butte for another month.

Crested Butte Greenhouse Design (2)

Initial Sketch of the Greenhouse

We talked about the initial design and decided to go with a 10′ x 12′ layout.  This would keep it under the square footage required to have to get a building permit from the county of Gunnison.   We decided on doing clay straw exterior walls to keep with the green theme and to provide excellent insulation. Also clay straw naturally breaths which is great since the greenhouse will be a high humidity environment.  There was also the thought of making it a year round greenhouse so Kara could apply her new found knowledge of aquaponics in the greenhouse.  Aquaponics is a closed loop system where you grow fish and plants in a symbiotic relationship. There will be a lot more info about aquaponics throughout this journey.

I decided to sketch up a greenhouse exterior and floorplan to get the process started; plus I wanted to color. Mission accomplished!  The two sketches in this article are the initial plans I drew up.

Crested Butte Greenhouse Design (4)

Initial Floorplan of the Greenhouse

Always Learning

This has been a huge learning experience for myself as I have never built or helped design a solar greenhouse.  This is also Kara’s first greenhouse she has designed and built so even though she has a ton of knowledge about green building, greenhouses and growing, she will finally get to put that knowledge to use.

Here are a few of the links we have been using to gain additional knowledge.  That is the great thing about the internet, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  Use others experiences to help make your project better.

Changes are on the Horizon

Next time around we will have a new and improved design.  It is Kara’s design and since she knows what she is doing it will of course be a better design then my sketches.  Also we are going bigger!  The greenhouse will now be 10′ x 20′.  I am also hopefully going to start the process of getting the greenhouse approval process with Crested Butte South Property Owners Association started.  Also with the larger design we will know have to get a building permit which will probably present some hurdles along the way.

Thank you for taking the time to follow this journey.