A group of Lacombe students who created a solar energy system for their high school are working on a brand new plan.
EcoVision has already received significant funding, largely from industries operating in the area and the Wolf Creek School Division, toward design and construction of an environmentally-friendly, energy efficient greenhouse at Lacombe Composite High School.
In their presentation to the Lacombe city Council recently, club president Caitlin Martin, vice-president Philip Andersen and science teacher Steve Schultz talked about the variety of benefits that would be available by adding a community greenhouse to the school.
The greenhouse project, underway since September of last year, would provide educational opportunities for students in a variety of programs while the vegetables that would eventually be grown in the greenhouse could be used in the school cafeteria, sold to the general public and donated to the food bank.
Soil would be replenished with compost made from cafeteria waste.
The EcoVision students have also devised a solar energy system for the greenhouse, to be located on the west side of the school to take advantage of available sunlight.
A solar collector would be used to heat water, which would then be circulated to heat the greenhouse.
Building costs are estimated at about $80,000, assuming community members will donate labour and expertise. Utility costs are projected at $400 per month, with additional costs to include wages for a part-time horticulturist.
So far, the project has received commitments from a number of sources, including two acres of land from the Wolf Creek School Division, fencing and staff time, including a teachers, custodian and maintenance.
BP has provided $10,000 through its A+ educational program and another $8,000 was donated by DOW and MEGlobal.
Lacombe city council on Monday agreed to supply administrative support for grant applications, permits, promotions and to research costs and liaise with the community.