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East Boston urban farm to go year-round with greenhouse heated by geothermal

The Zoning Board of Appeal today approved a proposal by Eastie Farm to add a 1,500-square-foot greenhouse at its farm at 6 Chelsea Terrace in East Boston.

The greenhouse will let the farm keep growing vegetables throughout the winter. The plans call for construction of a deep well to harness heat from down below for the colder months, which means the greenhouse will be carbon neutral. Without the well, the farm would have to use propane to keep the greenhouse warm enough.

The mayor's office and the office of City Councilor Lydia Edwards supported the proposal.

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Comments

typo "throughout the window"

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Throughout the winter, since letting all the heat escape through the window would be pretty wasteful. Thanks!

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Or ground-source heat pump? Geothermal I think means underground heat source from geysers, nearby magma, or fissures allowing mantle heat to get closer to the surface (like in Iceland). But ground-source heat pump uses the more-or-less steady underground temp of mid-50sF as a heat source (like our heat pumps and mini-split systems) by either pumping up ground water or having a closed loop system that circulates a liquid (kind of like anti-freeze) down deep in the ground. Probably this, but a volcano would be pretty cool too!

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What I don't know about non-traditional heating systems could fill entire libraries of books. Somebody from the farm did specifically say "geothermal." A well is also involved. And the goal is to eliminate any use of hydrocarbon-based heating.

Given that we haven't had volcanic activity in the Boston area for roughly 450 million years now (Great Blue Hill for the win!), I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's not an Icelandic-style system. So what you're describing probably makes more sense.

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Probably worth sussing out though because a ground source heat pump is still going to involve refrigerant and a heat pump instead of just moving water around and will thus be much harder to make carbon neutral without buying offsets or something. It may indeed use geothermal if the target greenhouse temperature is only ~40-50ºF.

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So, how this carbon neutral? How will the electricity to run the pump(s) and fan(s) bre generated?

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Their webpage says it's at 294 Sumner St.

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But the zoning application lists 6 Chelsea Terr. for the greenhouse.

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Yes, they have multiple locations. They’re a great resource and gathering space.

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