Jeff Masters Weather Blog

Farmer’s plants grow year-round in geothermal greenhouse in upstate New York » Yale Climate Connections

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Terry Bloom — the owner of Stone Bend Farm in Newfield, New York — built a greenhouse.

He’s using it for more than growing plants. The 4,000 square-foot timber-framed structure houses a farm-to-table kitchen and taproom, too.

And it’s all heated by geothermal energy.

Bloom: “You say ‘geothermal’ and people’s eyes glaze over a lot of times because it sounds so technical and scientific … but it’s so simple, and that’s what I love about it.”

Just a little ways underground, the earth maintains a fairly stable temperature. In New York State, it’s about 50 to 55 degrees year-round.

Geothermal systems harness that warmth to provide heating when it’s cold out.

Under Bloom’s greenhouse, thousands of feet of plastic drainage pipes snake back and forth. Fans pull the air through the pipes and into the building.

Bloom: “Let’s say it’s zero degrees outside. When you feel that air come out of the vents, the geothermal vents, it’s going to feel like heating.”

The system requires only a little energy to run, and it helps Bloom avoid using more expensive and polluting sources of heat, like natural gas or propane.

During the winter, the greenhouse does get cool — but the plants stay alive, and hardy customers gather to enjoy local food and beer, in a one-of-a-kind setting.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media

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