Former mailman Russ Finch living in Nebraska, U.S., has designed an ingenious greenhouse that uses geothermal energy to produce citrus fruits like lemons, grapefruit-sized oranges, green figs, and grapes throughout the year– and that too at just $1 a day! That is quite an achievement considering how harsh winters can be in Midwest America and how difficult it gets to source local produce in winter months.
Every year, Finch grows a few hundred pounds of fruit which he sells at a local farmers market. He calls his structure Greenhouse in the Snow. The original, which he constructed more than 20 years ago, is connected to his home. Finch specifically grew citrus in the greenhouse to prove that it’s possible.
Because the 1,200 square foot greenhouse is not dependent on fossil fuels, energy costs are down to just $1 a day. Only warm air obtained from perforated plastic tubing that is buried underground is used to heat the greenhouse. “All we try to do is keep it above 28 degrees in the winter,” said Finch. “We have no backup system for heat. The only heat source is the Earth’s heat, at 52 degrees at 8-foot deep.”