A greenhouse complex at the Oneonta Job Corps Academy is making the campus more sustainable and will soon contribute to the well-being of the surrounding community.
Solar energy is collected to provide hot water to the greenhouse, and photovoltaic panels generate electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct-current electricity. The system generates enough electricity to power the entire complex.
Students built a walkway surrounding the greenhouse using pervious concrete, which allows storm water to seep through the concrete into the ground and be recharged as groundwater. A gravity-fed pond uses natural water runoff and solar pumps to circulate water to the greenhouse irrigation system.
Sustainability is one of the first concepts students learn about on center. New students entering Oneonta are educated about the greenhouse complex during their first week on campus. The Green Thumb Club, made up of staff members and students with horticultural interests, maintains the greenhouse.
Club members ensure the greenhouse benefits the center and the community. The Club aims to have plants growing in the greenhouse year-round, with a large crop of fruits and vegetables grown during the summer months. As the complex becomes more productive, the Club will look to partner with and provide produce to organizations such as Meals on Wheels, local farmers' markets, and other community-based organizations.