Design Your Own Passive Solar Greenhouse

Whether for personal or professional use, our live, online Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course empowers anyone to draft plans for a year-round, secure source of fresh produce, inspiration, and joy. 

LIVE COURSE BEGINS MARCH 19th, 2024

✓ Learn from the Experts
✓ Ensure Food Security
✓ Enjoy Year-Round Harvests
strawbale-greenhouse-in-canmore

Complete your custom design and bring your ideas to life!

We teach you to design cutting-edge passive solar greenhouses at any scale or level of complexity. By the end of the course starting March 19th, 2024: 

  • Individuals will be able to pass their design on to professional builders and contractors.
  • Builders and Contractors will be ready to add custom greenhouse designs to their company’s services.
  • Nonprofits will be empowered to design a life-changing project for their community and solicit bids for the build.

Protect your project from costly mistakes and delays.

From site analysis to solar optimization and beyond, careful calculations are required for a passive solar greenhouse design. It’s easy to hit expensive roadblocks, or worse, design a system which underperforms and needs to be rebuilt. 

We believe everyone should have access to the powerful benefits of passive solar technology and guidance from the best experts in the field. 

Rob Avis showing the building construction that was designed for a passive solar greenhouse

Surround your passive solar design project with expert guidance and support.

Learn from leading authorities in our comprehensive curriculum and gain every advantage needed to complete your own custom design.

Step-by-Step Approach

Our course is carefully designed to layer the knowledge you need one step at a time and make sure you don’t get overwhelmed. 

Powerful Design Tools

Don’t let complexity curb your enthusiasm. Our exclusive design tool performs the most difficult engineering calculations required for your design.

Community Support

Find assurance and support from live Q&A’s, fellow designers in your cohort, and access to the Verge online community and bonus materials.

Create a customized design, and harvest a hopeful future.

Picture your greenhouse thriving in winter, teeming with the vibrant colors of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Every family’s needs are unique, and a design that’s aligned with your goals grows deep, resilient roots for the years ahead.

Watch the case studies below to find inspiration and ideas for your greenhouse design!

Check out Verge Permaculture’s first passive solar greenhouse in Calgary, Alberta, and the mistakes and successes that made in the design and construction of this greenhouse.

900 sq. ft. Passive Solar Greenhouse for Microgreens

Curtis Stone takes us through his passive solar greenhouse on his urban farm. Curtis is able to grow between 100 – 600 lbs per week or ~$1500 – $9000/week in microgreens.

Explore the 3000 sq. ft. community passive solar greenhouse built and operated by the Groundswell Network Society. The larger design opens up ways to improve systems.

I took the Verge Permaculture Passive Greenhouse course, and I am blown away by the effort that Rob and his team have put into designing the course. It is very intuitive, and is exactly the assistance I needed in designing our dream greenhouse. It is obvious that there is there is a tremendous amount of passion and time that went into sharing all of the their experiences, and is definitely worth the value. They have helped me think of everything I need to design and build my structure. I can wait to see my project through to completion. – Norm L.

Here’s how to turn your greenhouse dreams into reality.

1 | Sign Up!

Explore and register for the Comprehensive course package below. Course begins March 19th, 2024.

2 | Create Your Project Design

Draft a design that’s ready to hand off to experienced builders and contractors.

3 | Bring Your Vision to Life

Build more than a greenhouse. Build a future that promises security, abundance, and the joy of growing fresh, nutrient-dense produce year-round!

Sign up for Verge’s Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course!

Comprehensive Course Package

passive solar greenhouse on the prairies

This 10-module course provides a complete education for anyone looking to design, plan, build, coordinate, and manage a passive solar greenhouse of any complexity and scale. (Many students planning on a basic design choose this package for the advanced knowledge and insights.)

  • Includes new case studies and interactive live discussions
  •  10 Comprehensive modules (See full curriculum), plus
  • Rainwater Harvesting for Passive Solar Greenhouses bonus live, online session

Exclusive Bonus with your Comprehensive Package

Learn More About the Permaculture Academy ...

The Verge Permaculture Academy is an exclusive online community that offers advanced permaculture training and support on your journey to living more regenerative lifestyle. Memberships includes:

  • Quarterly live courses, ranging from foundational workshops to specialized masterclasses. Learn from top-tier faculty as you refine your expertise in regenerative design and beyond.
  • Biweekly live events featuring themed Q&A sessions, in-depth educational workshops with guest experts, case studies, and more. Engage in dynamic learning beyond our masterclasses.
  • A comprehensive library of on-demand masterclasses and hundreds of hours of easy to search content.
  • An community group free from the ads and algorithms of social media, our exclusive, proprietary online platform is where you’ll find friendship and support.

$599CAD

(est. $449 USD)
Course begins March 19th, 2024

Still Thinking About Signing Up? Join Us at Our Next Webinar!

Mitch Rawlyk and Rob Avis outside

Introduction to Passive Solar Greenhouse Design

Feb 27, 2024, 1PM to 2:30PM ET
Feb 29, 2024, 5PM to 6:30PM ET
With Live Q&A

Starting a passive solar greenhouse project is a big decision. Our webinar introduces you to the basics of passive solar design and gives you an overview of Verge’s design course to help you make an informed choice.

You’ll also receive access to our exclusive Passive Solar Greenhouse DIY Guide. Space for the webinar is limited. Reserve your spot today!

Meet Your Instructors!

Verge’s faculty features leading experts in passive solar greenhouse design and the disciplines needed to manage one successfully.

  • Rob Avis
    Rob Avis Lead Instructor / Engineer

    After pursuing international training and certifications in renewable energy and regenerative design Rob, along with his wife and business partner Michelle, began Verge Permaculture, now a globally-recognized and award-winning design, consulting, and education company. In the last decade, he has helped more than 3000 students and hundreds of clients to design and/or create integrated systems for shelter, energy, water, waste and food, all while supporting local economy and regenerating the land.

  • Jordan Saunders
    Jordan Saunders Regenerative Architecture (RegenArc) Manager at 5th World

    Jordan recently joined 5th World as our Regenerative Architecture (RegenArc) Manager. He brings a wealth of knowledge with over two decades of experience in the building and construction industry. Jordan has dedicated over a decade to hands-on involvement in designing and implementing permaculture projects across western Canada. His passion lies in the intersection of these two realms, finding fulfillment when projects seamlessly integrate the land, client, and built environment.

    A staunch advocate of appropriate technology, Jordan believes in its power to free people from unnecessary labour and costly technologies that fail to address genuine problems.

  • Carmen Lamoureux
    Carmen Lamoureux Lead Instructor

    The lead instructor for the Verge PDC, Carmen has had a varied career, working for the Alberta government in the fields of sustainable resource management, forestry and privately in silviculture, soils and horticulture. As founder and owner of Calgary’s URBAN FARM SCHOOL, as well as the Urban Farm Permaculture Project, she is dedicated to helping emerging gardeners and permaculture enthusiasts gain the freedom, confidence and skills they need to live more abundant, sustainable and resilient lives. Having grown food organically for over 4 decades, Carmen gets excited about helping others cultivate great food, and in turn, great selves.  (Verge PDC Grad 2013)

  • Michelle Avis
    Michelle Avis Founder / Co-Instructor / Engineer

    After pursuing international training and certifications in renewable energy and regenerative design, as well as a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Michelle, along with her husband and business partner Rob, began Verge Permaculture, now a globally-recognized and award-winning design, consulting, and education company. Since then, they’ve helped more than 1000 students and a growing number of clients to design and/or create integrated systems for shelter, energy, water, waste and food, all while supporting local economy and regenerating the land.

    Their consulting firm, Adaptive Habitat is a property design & project management firm that creates resilient homes, acreages and farms for landowners, preserving tangible and enduring wealth by integrating innovative technology, engineered solutions and ecological design. She loves the complexity of working through holistic design challenges to create resilient, eco-sustainable homes, acreages and farms that produce their own energy and food, harvest water, cycle nutrients and restore the surrounding ecosystems. By integrating innovative technology with sound design, they engineer creative solutions that bring a positive benefit to the environments in which people live and thereby thrive.

    Coupled with a deep connection to nature and a passion for growing nutrient-dense food, Michelle’s driving goal is to ensure that her work and actions leave this world a better place for future generations to inherit.

Explore the Curriculum

See the detailed curriculum below for the Comprehensive Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course.

  • Module 1: Goals and Contextual Analysis
  • Module 2: Optimizing Site Potential, Orientation and Greenhouse Dimensions
  • Module 3: Architectural Elements and Greenhouse Shapes
  • Module 4: Structural Foundations, Ventilation and Base Construction
  • Module 5: Harnessing Light through Glazing Techniques and Implementation Strategies
  • Module 6: Construction and Insulation for Heat Efficiency
  • Module 7: Maximizing Greenhouse Production and Efficiency
  • Module 8: Heat Systems, Fuels and Integrated Design
  • Module 9: Light Science and Water Strategies
  • Module 10: Communicating Expectations and Initiating Your Project
team hands with laptop and hardhat on top of blueprints

Ask Us Anything!

Diving into a passive solar greenhouse design course is a big step, and you probably have more questions. 

We’re happy to meet with you for a short consultation. We’d love to meet you, understand your goals in regards to your greenhouse design, and help you figure out if this is the right fit!

Verge Team at the Farm

LOOKING FOR MORE DETAILS?

Scroll down for detailed course schedule & content and FAQ’s

Modules 1-4 run live Tuesdays 5:00-8:00pm ET, March 19 – April 9

Modules 5-10 run live Tuesdays & Thursdays 5:00-8:00pm ET, April 16 – May 2

(convert to your time zone here).

Module Dates Live Session Topic
Module 1 Tuesday, March 19 Goals and Contextual Analysis
Module 2 Tuesday, March 26
Optimizing Site Potential with Orientation and Dimensions
Module 3 Tuesday, April 2
Architectural Elements and Greenhouse Shapes
Module 4 Tuesday, April 9
Structural Foundations, Ventilation and Base Construction
Module 5 Tuesday, April 16
Harnessing Light through Glazing Techniques and Implementation Strategies
Module 6 Thursday, April 18
Construction and Insulation for Heat Efficiency
Module 7 Tuesday. April 23
Maximizing Greenhouse Production and Efficiency
Module 8 Thursday, April 25
Heat Systems, Fuels and Integrated Design
Module 9 Tuesday, April 30
Light Science and Water Strategies
Module 10 Thursday, May 2
Communicating Expectations & Initiating Your Project

Classes will run 5:00-8:00pm ET, and may go shorter or longer depending on the number of student questions each week. All classes are recorded and posted to the student dashboard where you can watch or (re-watch) at your own pace.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a passive solar greenhouse?

A passive solar greenhouse is a greenhouse designed to utilize sunlight for heating and lighting as efficiently as possible, reducing or eliminating the need for additional electrical or heating systems. This approach contrasts with other types of greenhouses that often rely on external energy sources for heating, cooling, and lighting.

The ‘passive solar’ aspect refers to several key design principles:

  1. Orientation and Glazing: The greenhouse is typically oriented to maximize southern exposure in the Northern Hemisphere (or northern exposure in the Southern Hemisphere). This orientation, combined with transparent glazing materials (like glass or clear plastic) and proper angling, allows maximum sunlight penetration when it’s needed most.
  2. Thermal Mass: Materials that can absorb, store, and later release heat (such as water containers, concrete, or stone) are incorporated into the design. During the day, these materials absorb heat from the sun and then slowly release it at night, helping to maintain a stable temperature.
  3. Insulation: Adequate insulation, especially on the north side and other areas not receiving direct sunlight, is crucial to prevent heat loss.
  4. Ventilation: Strategic placement of vents and windows facilitates natural air circulation, assisting in temperature regulation and humidity control.

How do the live online lectures work, and what platform do you use for these sessions?

Our live online lectures are a key component of the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, providing an interactive and engaging learning experience. We conduct these sessions using Zoom, a widely-used and user-friendly video conferencing platform.

Here’s how you can join these sessions:

  1. Access Through the Portal: The link for each Zoom session will be available on the Events tab of our dedicated online Portal at portal.vergepermaculture.ca/events. This portal is your go-to resource for all course-related activities.
  2. Email Notifications: To ensure you don’t miss a session, we will also send out an email with the Zoom link one hour before the lecture starts. This gives you ample time to prepare and log in to the session.
  3. Joining the Session: Simply click on the provided link to join the live lecture. If you’re new to Zoom, it’s easy to set up and doesn’t require any complicated installation. You can join from your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  4. Interactive Experience: During the live sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with the instructor, ask questions, and participate in discussions. This interactive format is designed to enhance your understanding and allow you to dive deeper into the course material.
  5. Technical Support: If you have any issues accessing the Zoom sessions, our technical support team will be available to assist you. We strive to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience for all our participants.

By using Zoom for our live lectures, we aim to create an accessible, convenient, and dynamic learning environment that brings the classroom experience to your home or office. Join us to engage in a live, collaborative, and enriching educational journey!

Will I have access to the lecture recordings if I miss a live session?

Absolutely! We understand that schedules can be busy, and it might not always be possible to attend every live session. To accommodate this, we ensure that all our live lectures are recorded and made available to you.

  • Timely Availability: Our goal is to have the full recordings of each session available within 8 hours of the live event. This quick turnaround ensures that you can catch up on what you missed without significant delays, keeping you in sync with the class.
  • Accessing Recordings: You can find these recordings on the course page, specifically designed for our Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course. The direct link to access the course recordings, as well as all course materials is: https://portal.vergepermaculture.ca/courses/passive-solar-greenhouse-design-course-live
  • Convenient Learning: By providing these recordings, we aim to offer flexibility in your learning journey. You can watch the lectures at your convenience, pause, and revisit complex topics as needed, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the course material.
  • Long-Term Access: Once posted, these recordings will be available for you to view throughout the duration of the course and forever after, allowing you to refer back to them as often as needed for review and reinforcement of concepts.

We’re committed to making your educational experience as accessible and accommodating as possible. With these lecture recordings, you have the freedom to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule.

What kind of support can I expect during the course? Are there opportunities for one-on-one interaction with instructors?

Throughout the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, you will receive comprehensive support to enhance your learning experience, including opportunities for direct interaction with our instructors.

  • Live Q&A Sessions: We frequently host live Q&A segments during our course sessions. These segments are an integral part of the live lectures, where you can ask questions and receive immediate, in-depth responses from the instructor. This format encourages an active learning environment and ensures that your specific queries are addressed.
  • Course Community Group Interaction: Our instructors and mentors are actively involved in the course community group hosted on our Portal. Here, you can post questions, engage in discussions, and receive additional support. This community platform serves as a valuable resource for continuous learning and interaction outside of the live sessions.
  • Direct Engagement During Live Sessions: In each live session, students are invited to participate and ask their questions directly to the instructors. This approach ensures a dynamic and interactive learning experience, allowing you to engage with the course material on a deeper level.
  • Responsive Support: Our instructors and mentors are dedicated to providing timely and helpful responses to your questions, whether posed during the live sessions or on the community group. This ongoing support is designed to facilitate your understanding and application of the course content.

The combination of live Q&A segments, active participation in the course community, and the opportunity to interact directly with instructors during live sessions all contribute to a supportive and interactive educational experience. Our goal is to ensure you feel guided and supported throughout your journey in the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course.

How does Verge’s online Portal enhance my learning experience in this course?

Our online Portal serves as the hub for our diverse range of courses and student community and plays a crucial role in the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course. Here’s how:

  1. Centralized Course Materials: For the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course, the Portal provides easy access to all essential materials. This includes lecture recordings, reading materials, assignments, and supplementary resources. Having everything centralized aids in efficient learning and resource management.
  2. Connection to a Broader Learning Community: While focused on your course, you also get the advantage of being part of a larger student community. This access enables you to engage with peers from various courses, offering a wider perspective and networking opportunities.
  3. Live Event Coordination: The Portal is where we update and manage all live events related to your course and beyond. This includes schedules for upcoming lectures, workshops, and Q&A sessions, ensuring you stay informed and engaged with every aspect of the course.
  4. Interactive Community Platform: Within the Portal, the community platform specific to the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course allows for interaction with fellow students and instructors. It’s a space for collaborative learning, discussion, and sharing insights related to your course topics.
  5. Access to a Wealth of Additional Resources: While primarily focused on your course, you can also explore additional learning materials and resources available on the Portal. This access broadens your learning scope and provides supplemental information that can enhance your understanding of the course material.
  6. User-Friendly Experience: The Portal is designed to be intuitive and easy to navigate, making it straightforward for you to find and utilize the resources for the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course, as well as to participate in the community discussions and activities.

By housing the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Course on our comprehensive online Portal, we offer you a focused yet expansive educational experience. You benefit not only from the specific resources and community of your course but also from the broader educational and networking opportunities available through our long-established community of designers and builders.

What are the technical requirements to participate in the live online sessions via Zoom?

To ensure a smooth and engaging experience in our live online sessions via Zoom, there are several technical requirements that you should be prepared to meet:

  1. Stable Internet Connection: A reliable, high-speed internet connection is crucial for streaming live video and audio without interruption. This ensures that you can participate actively without any connectivity issues.
  2. Compatible Device: You’ll need a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone that is capable of running Zoom. Most modern devices are well-equipped for this purpose.
  3. Zoom Software: If you’re using a computer or laptop, it’s recommended to download the Zoom desktop client for the best experience. For tablets and smartphones, the Zoom app is available in the respective app stores. You can also join sessions directly through your web browser if you prefer.
  4. Webcam and Microphone: As we encourage students to turn on their cameras and participate in verbal conversations, make sure your device has a working webcam and microphone. This not only fosters accountability but also enhances the collaborative learning experience with your peers.
  5. Headphones/Earbuds (Recommended): Using headphones or earbuds can improve your ability to hear the session clearly, especially in noisy environments, and also helps to minimize feedback during verbal interactions.
  6. Adequate Lighting and Quiet Space: To be seen clearly when your camera is on, participate in a well-lit room. Also, try to be in a quiet space to minimize background noise during the session.
  7. Basic Zoom Proficiency: Familiarize yourself with basic Zoom functions such as muting/unmuting your microphone, turning your video on/off, and using the chat feature. This will help you participate more effectively in the sessions.

By meeting these technical requirements, you will be well-prepared to engage fully in our live online sessions, ensuring an enriching and interactive learning experience with both instructors and fellow students.

How interactive are the live lectures? Can I ask questions and engage with other participants?

Our live lectures are designed to be highly interactive, providing ample opportunities for you to actively participate, ask questions, and engage with others. Here’s how interactivity is integrated into our live sessions:

  1. Real-Time Interaction: During the live lectures, you’ll be able to communicate in real time not only with the instructor but also with fellow students and moderators. This immediate interaction makes the learning experience dynamic and engaging.
  2. Using the Chat Feature: The Zoom platform includes a chat feature, which you can use to type questions or comments during the lecture. This is a great way to participate if you prefer not to speak out loud or if your question arises while someone else is speaking.
  3. Direct Question and Answer Opportunities: In addition to the chat, there will be specific times allocated for Q&A, where you can ask your questions directly to the instructor and receive immediate feedback. This is a key part of ensuring that the lectures are as interactive and informative as possible.
  4. Engagement with Other Participants: Interaction isn’t limited to just the instructors. You are encouraged to engage with your fellow students during the live sessions, fostering a collaborative learning environment.
  5. 24/7 Access to the Course Community Group: Beyond the live lectures, you can continue conversations, discussions, and interactions in the course community group on our Portal. This platform is available around the clock, allowing you to connect with the course community at any time.
  6. Encouraged Active Participation: We encourage all students to be active participants. By turning on your cameras and joining in verbal conversations, you contribute to a lively, collaborative atmosphere that enhances the learning experience for everyone involved.

In summary, our live lectures are structured to be as interactive as possible, with multiple channels for engagement, both during the lectures and continuously through our course community group. This interactive format is central to our teaching approach, ensuring that you can fully immerse yourself in the learning process and benefit from the collective knowledge and experience of the course community.

Are there any hands-on projects or practical assignments in the course?

The Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course includes several practical assignments, although they are structured differently from conventional design and build projects. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Use of the PSGD Tool: A significant part of the course involves using the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design (PSGD) tool. This tool is integral to conducting a thorough analysis and designing your greenhouse. You’ll be guided on how to effectively utilize this tool to design a greenhouse that suits your specific needs and context.
  2. Contextual Research and Application: Assignments will often involve researching information relevant to your unique situation, such as local climate conditions, available materials, and specific site characteristics. This research is crucial for applying the course concepts to real-life scenarios.
  3. Interactive Learning Activities: While direct building assignments are not part of the course, you’ll be engaged in various interactive learning activities. These activities are designed to deepen your understanding of the course material and how it applies to the practical aspects of greenhouse design.
  4. Regular Knowledge Checks: To ensure that you are grasping the material effectively, the course includes regular knowledge checks. These may come in the form of quizzes, discussions, or reflective exercises.
  5. Application-Based Learning: The course emphasizes applying learned concepts to your project. You’ll be encouraged to continuously think about how the course material relates to your own greenhouse design, considering all the variables and conditions that apply to your situation.
  6. Community Feedback and Discussion: The course also leverages the community platform for discussions and feedback. You can share your progress, get insights from peers, and seek advice from instructors and fellow students.

In summary, the course is structured to provide a practical, hands-on learning experience through the use of analytical tools, research assignments, and continuous application of the concepts to your personal greenhouse project. This approach ensures that you not only learn the theoretical aspects of passive solar greenhouse design but also how to apply this knowledge effectively in a real-world context.

Will this course teach me construction skills such as framing, wiring, tool use, etc?

The primary focus of the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course is on the design principles and technologies essential for effectively designing a Passive Solar Greenhouse (PSG) using science-backed diagnostics and techniques. Therefore, the course does not specifically include instruction on construction skills such as framing, wiring, or tool use.

However, we do recognize the importance of these skills in the overall process of building a greenhouse. To address this, our team of instructors includes professional contractors who specialize in PSG construction. These experts bring a wealth of practical knowledge and experience to the course. While the course content itself may not cover construction skills in detail, these instructors will be available to answer any construction-related questions you might have. This can include queries about framing techniques, electrical wiring considerations, tool recommendations, or any other construction aspects relevant to building a passive solar greenhouse.

In essence, while the course is centered on design principles, you’ll have access to professional insights and guidance on the construction elements, ensuring a well-rounded understanding of both the design and building aspects of a passive solar greenhouse.

Is there a certification or recognition upon completing the Comprehensive curriculum?

Upon successfully completing the Comprehensive curriculum of our Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, we are pleased to offer a digital certificate of completion. This certificate will be provided in PDF format, making it convenient for you to download, save, and print if desired.

This certificate serves as formal recognition of the knowledge and skills you’ve gained throughout the course. It reflects your dedication and commitment to learning the principles and practices of passive solar greenhouse design. Please note that this digital certificate of completion is only available for those who complete the Comprehensive curriculum.

The certificate can be a valuable addition to your professional portfolio, especially if you’re looking to apply these skills in a professional setting, such as in sustainable construction, agriculture, or consulting. It’s a testament to the time and effort you’ve invested in mastering the complexities of passive solar greenhouse design.

How much time should I allocate each week to keep up with the course?

To keep up effectively with the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, here’s a breakdown of the time commitment you should consider:

  1. Live Course Sessions:
    • During the first 4 weeks of the Foundational curriculum, there is one live session per week, each lasting 3 hours.
    • Starting week 5, as the course progresses into the Comprehensive curriculum, the frequency increases to two live sessions per week, also 3 hours each.
  2. Additional Study Time:
    • Reviewing Course Resources: Allocate at least 1-2 hours per week for reviewing the lecture recordings, readings, and other supplementary materials.
    • Using the Design Tool: Depending on your project’s complexity, setting aside 1-3 hours per week to work with the design tool would be beneficial.
    • Community Participation: Engaging with the course community, sharing insights, and learning from peers can take about 1 hour per week.
    • Completing Knowledge Checks: Set aside approximately 1 hour per week for knowledge checks and quizzes to assess your understanding.
  3. Designing Your Own Greenhouse: The time spent on designing your own greenhouse will vary based on your pace and the project’s complexity. A conservative estimate would be 2-4 hours per week, especially as you apply the concepts learned in the course to your design.

Are there any prerequisites or required knowledge before starting the course?

There are no strict prerequisites for enrolling in the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course. However, to maximize the benefits of the course, there are a couple of areas where some foundational knowledge could be particularly advantageous:

  1. Basic Understanding of Permaculture Design: While not mandatory, having a foundational understanding of permaculture design principles can be very beneficial. This knowledge will help you grasp how your greenhouse can integrate into and complement the overall design of a property, aligning with sustainable and regenerative practices.
  2. Comfort with Using Spreadsheet Tools: As our Passive Solar Greenhouse Design (PSGD) tool is based on spreadsheet software, comfort with using basic spreadsheet functions will be helpful. Familiarity with tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets will allow you to navigate and utilize the PSGD tool more effectively for your greenhouse design.

These recommended areas of knowledge are not prerequisites but rather suggestions to enhance your learning experience and ease your journey through the course. If you’re new to permaculture or spreadsheet tools, don’t worry — the course is designed to be accessible and engaging, even for beginners. Plus, our community and instructors are here to support you every step of the way!

How long do I have access to the course materials after the course ends?

As a student who has purchased the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, you are entitled to perpetual access to not only the course materials and recordings but also the course community. This means that even after the course has officially concluded, you can continuously revisit the lectures, resources, and other course materials.

Additionally, your access to the course community remains open indefinitely. This ongoing access allows you to remain connected with fellow students, instructors, and the broader community associated with the course. You can continue to participate in discussions, share experiences, seek advice, and stay updated on the latest in passive solar greenhouse design.

The advantage of having this unrestricted access is that it provides you with a valuable, evergreen resource. Whether it’s for refreshing your knowledge, applying concepts to new projects, or staying engaged with a network of like-minded individuals, the lifetime access ensures that your learning and growth in passive solar greenhouse design continue well beyond the course’s duration.

Can I access the course materials and lectures from my mobile device?

Absolutely! Our online Portal, where the course materials and lectures are hosted, is mobile-friendly. This means you can conveniently access the course content, including videos and readings, directly from your mobile device.

However, it’s important to note a couple of key points for the best learning experience:

  1. PSGD Tool Limitations on Mobile: While our Portal is mobile-friendly, the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design (PSGD) tool itself is not optimized for mobile devices. To effectively use this tool, which is an integral part of the course, you would need to access it from a computer or laptop.
  2. Live Sessions on Mobile: Although live sessions conducted via Zoom can technically be accessed on a mobile device, we recommend attending these sessions using a computer or laptop. This is because the larger screen and more robust interface of a computer provide a more conducive learning environment, making it easier to view presentations, engage with instructors and peers, and participate actively in the sessions.

In summary, while you have the flexibility to access much of the course content from your mobile device, for certain key elements like the PSGD tool and live sessions, using a computer or laptop will enhance your overall learning experience.

What is the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design Tool, and how will it be used in the course?

The Passive Solar Greenhouse Design (PSGD) Tool is a specialized spreadsheet-based tool developed specifically for the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course. It plays a pivotal role in the course by aiding in the design and planning of passive solar greenhouses. Here’s a closer look at the tool and its application in the course:

  1. Purpose of the PSGD Tool:
    • The tool is designed to assist in assessing the feasibility of passive solar greenhouses in various cold climate regimes.
    • It enables you to calculate critical factors like the R-value of materials, glazing type, thermal mass, and lighting requirements.
    • Additionally, it helps estimate the approximate annual cost of lighting and heating appliances for your greenhouse.
  2. Application in the Course:
    • Throughout the course, you’ll be instructed on how to effectively utilize the PSGD Tool to analyze and design your passive solar greenhouse.
    • The tool aids in making sophisticated design decisions, even for those without an engineering background, by simplifying complex calculations and considerations.
    • You’ll apply the tool to your specific context, using it to tailor your greenhouse design to your site’s unique characteristics and needs.
  3. Features of the Tool:
    • The PSGD Tool includes modules for light calculation, thermal mass estimation, and a subterranean heating and cooling system (SHCS) tool based on fan optimization formulas.
    • While it provides a comprehensive framework for design, it’s important to note that the tool is based on generalized formulas and rules of thumb, making it a guide rather than a definitive design solution.
  4. Using the Tool in the Course:
    • The tool is integrated into the course curriculum, allowing you to apply theoretical knowledge to practical design scenarios.
    • Regular knowledge checks and assignments will involve using the tool to analyze and plan your greenhouse project.
    • Instructors, including professional contractors specializing in PSG construction, will be available to guide you in interpreting and applying the tool’s outputs to your design.

In summary, the PSGD Tool is an essential component of the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, facilitating a practical, hands-on approach to learning. It enables you to apply scientific principles and techniques to the real-world task of designing a functional and efficient passive solar greenhouse.

What is the course’s approach to sustainability and regenerative practices in greenhouse design?

The course’s approach to sustainability and regenerative practices in greenhouse design is deeply rooted in the core principles of permaculture design, which is central to Verge Permaculture’s educational philosophy. Here’s how this approach is integrated into the course:

  1. Systems Thinking Approach: We emphasize a systems thinking perspective, which means that we don’t just look at the greenhouse as an isolated element but as a part of a larger ecological and environmental system. This approach helps in understanding the interconnections and interactions between the greenhouse and its surrounding environment.
  2. Sustainability in Design: The course focuses on sustainable design practices, which include the use of renewable resources, minimizing waste, and ensuring that the greenhouse contributes positively to the environment. This involves choosing materials and methods that have a lower environmental impact and promote biodiversity.
  3. Regenerative Practices: We go beyond sustainability to incorporate regenerative practices. This means designing greenhouses that not only do no harm but actively improve the environment. This could involve techniques that enhance soil health, increase biodiversity, and contribute to the regeneration of the local ecosystem.
  4. Holistic Education: Our course content is framed to provide a holistic education. We delve into how a greenhouse fits into the overall design of a property and how it can play a role in a sustainable lifestyle. This includes understanding the greenhouse’s impact on energy use, water cycle, and local flora and fauna.
  5. Application of Permaculture Principles: The course is imbued with permaculture principles such as ‘Observe and Interact’, ‘Catch and Store Energy’, and ‘Use and Value Diversity’. These principles guide the design process, ensuring that the greenhouse is efficient, productive, and harmonious with nature.
  6. Encouraging Creative Solutions: We encourage students to think creatively about how their greenhouses can serve multiple functions and contribute to a regenerative lifestyle. This might include integrating food production, water harvesting, and habitat creation.

In summary, the course approaches greenhouse design from a permaculture perspective, ensuring that each design is sustainable, regenerative, and part of a larger ecological system. It’s about creating greenhouses that are not only productive but also contribute positively to the environment and the well-being of the community.

How can I apply what I learn in this course to my existing gardening or farming practices?

The knowledge and skills you acquire from the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course can be seamlessly integrated into your existing gardening or farming practices in several impactful ways:

  1. Enhanced Season Extension: One of the primary benefits of a passive solar greenhouse is the ability to extend the growing season. You can apply this to your existing practices by starting seeds earlier in the spring and growing crops later into the fall, thus maximizing your yield and efficiency.
  2. Microclimate Creation: By understanding and implementing the principles of passive solar design, you can create optimal microclimates within your greenhouse. This knowledge can be applied to outdoor gardening as well, allowing for better plant placement and protection strategies based on sun exposure, wind patterns, and other environmental factors.
  3. Sustainable Resource Management: The course’s focus on sustainability and regenerative practices will help you incorporate methods like rainwater harvesting and efficient water usage into your farming or gardening. These practices not only reduce your environmental footprint but also can lead to cost savings and more resilient cultivation methods.
  4. Soil Health and Biodiversity: The principles learned about soil health management and creating biodiverse ecosystems within a greenhouse can be transferred to outdoor gardening. This includes techniques for soil improvement, companion planting, and natural pest management.
  5. Systems Thinking Approach: Applying the systems thinking approach, which is a cornerstone of this course, allows you to view your garden or farm as a holistic system. This perspective helps in making decisions that benefit not just individual plants or crops but the entire ecosystem of your garden or farm.
  6. Innovation and Adaptation: The course encourages innovative thinking and adaptation of designs to suit specific needs. This mindset can inspire creative solutions in your existing practices, such as developing unique garden layouts or experimenting with new cultivation techniques.
  7. Community and Knowledge Sharing: Participation in the course community can provide additional insights and ideas that can be applied to your gardening or farming. Engaging with peers and experts in the field offers a wealth of knowledge that extends beyond the course curriculum.

In essence, the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course equips you with principles and techniques that are not limited to greenhouse design but are broadly applicable to various aspects of gardening and farming, enhancing your overall approach to sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

What payment options are available for the course, and are there any payment plans?

For the Passive Solar Greenhouse Design course, we have structured the payment options to align with the two levels of enrollment, corresponding to the distinct curriculums within the course. Here’s how it works:

  1. Single Payment for Each Curriculum Level:
    • We do not offer payment plans; instead, each curriculum level – Foundational ($247) and Comprehensive ($599) – requires a single payment.
    • This approach simplifies the enrollment process, allowing you to choose the curriculum that best fits your learning goals and make a one-time payment for the entire course duration.
  2. Two Levels of Enrollment Based on Desired Outcome:
    • Foundational Curriculum Enrollment ($247): If your goal is to gain essential knowledge and skills for building a basic passive solar greenhouse, you can enroll in the Foundational Curriculum.
    • Comprehensive Curriculum Enrollment ($599): For those seeking a more in-depth exploration, encompassing both foundational and advanced concepts in passive solar greenhouse design, the Comprehensive Curriculum is the suitable choice.
  3. Payment Methods:
    • We accept various payment methods, including major credit cards and online payment platforms. The exact options will be detailed at the time of enrollment.
  4. No Payment Plans:
    • As we do not offer payment plans, the course fee for the selected curriculum level is to be paid in full at the time of enrollment.

By offering these straightforward payment options, we aim to make the enrollment process clear and accessible for all students. Whether you choose the Foundational or Comprehensive Curriculum, you’ll find that each offers comprehensive value and education to meet your greenhouse design aspirations.

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