Chinese style Solar Greenhouse

 Imagine, as a market gardener, growing fresh, organic food all year in Montana without any fossil fuels. Tomatoes into November and December, new greens starting in February. These off season crops offer higher profit margins because the alternative for consumers is the tired produce in the grocery stores.

The Chinese started developing solar greenhouses in the 1970's and now have over 3 million acres of them.  Their mature design grows vegetables year-round and is energy self sufficient up to the 42nd parallel.

We are currently working with a Montana market gardener to build a commercial solar greenhouse next year. Our goals are to use the Chinese model and proportions but adapt to our local materials and building practices.  We know that the building will have to perform well, but also be inexpensive enough to make the economics work.

Please call or write if you have interest in a similar project.



Selected Projects:

Greenhouse in Circle, MT, ca. 1976

  • Earth bermed rear
  • Natural ventilation systen,
  • Retractable glazing blanket
  • Rebuilt Jacobs Wind Generator
  • Wind powered well w/  gravity feed water storage


Passive Solar House, Bozeman, ca. 1977

  • Integrated greenhouse
  • Thermal water wall & masonry chimney for heat storage
  • Solar Hot Water System



Attached Solar Greenhouse, Bozeman, ca 1980

  • Thermal storage tubes
  • Natural ventilation for house heating
  • Vegetable & flower growing, violin playing




Super Insulated House, Bozeman, ca 1984

  • R-38/R-60 Insulation
  • Very tight ventilation package
  • Heat Recovery Ventilator
  • Attached sunroom


Traditional House, Livingston, ca 1989

  • Rural setting, dramatic views
  • Very high level of workmanship & materials
  • Traditional "Craftsman" detailing & finishes
  • High efficient boiler


Jim Baerg Montana Energy+Design
223 S. 5th St.
Livingston, MT 59047