While efficient for producing some foods all year long, greenhouses can also be a drain on energy. It can be costly to keep the greenhouses properly lit and the environment at the correct temperature. A company out of Reno, Nevada, founded by Joshua Smith, may have come up with a brilliant solution. Smith’s idea is powered by pink roof panels, still made of glass and still providing optimum plant growth.
Adjusting the hue of the roof panels by infusing them with a magenta luminescent dye forms Wavelength Selective Photovoltaic Systems. This dying proved to still grow the food crops but also gathered the sun’s powerful rays. By collecting the sun’s energy the greenhouses could become their own power plants, effectively removing them from the electrical grid.
Researchers were able to generate enough power with the pink glass to control the greenhouse environment. The implications of this could be earth changing by first, removing greenhouses from traditional power grids, which will help reduce carbon emissions. A study conducted by Cornell estimated the four acres of greenhouses will create 9 million pounds of carbon emissions. A second benefit is producing fresh food less expensively, which could greatly impact the quality of lives of people who live in areas of poverty.
The way a plant grows is its cells detect light and determine quantity and brightness. The scientists discovered that the pink glass did not halt the plants ability to grow. They were surprised to find out that the plants grew 20% better when testing the pink greenhouses.
The research was conducted using a variety of food plants, such as basil, peppers, strawberries, lemons, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Many believed that the plants growth would be stunted due to the fact that the pink hue reduced the brightness inside the greenhouse, but it turned out growth was not impacted.
Founder of Reno-based Modular Greenhouses, Josh Smith, uses his company and knowledge to give back to his community. The company strives to provide greenhouses and fresh garden programs to all of the county schools. They hope to achieve this by 2020.
Modular Greenhouses does not focus on Reno, Nevada alone, but also looks to take it’s healthy foods gardening program to all primary and secondary school in the United States by 2025. With his innovative technology and passion for providing youth with healthy foods Smith is certain to change the face of world hunger.