P14419: High Tunnel

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

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Project Summary

The RIT MSD team has been chosen to work with Rochester Roots and the Rochester City School District to upgrade an existing high tunnel greenhouse used by several local schools. The current state of the high tunnel is a 24’ x 48’ steel, square-tubed frame with a semi-circular roof. In foul weather and winter months a plastic tarp is used to cover the frame. This is type of covering only creates conditions to allow gardening in 10 months out of the year. The design also lacks storage efficiency and is susceptible to vandalism. Water is sourced using a hose that connects to the school’s tap and is over 250ft from the high tunnel.

The RIT MSD team is to create a solution that allows for year-round growing by the design and implementation of multi-purpose paneling. These panels will also be used to deter any pests or vandals, and will have one or more additional features that enhance the high tunnel. If additional means beyond the panels is needed to maintain year-round growing, any electrical power consumption will be supplied using renewable energy. In addition to the redesigned paneling, the irrigation system will be upgraded to allow for non-commercial water sourcing. Design considerations will need to be made for the following items: utilized and maintained by 3rd-8th graders, the safety risks that are inherently involved with children, the existing structure, and the $1000 prototype budget.

By the delivery dates, the RIT MSD team will have at least three prototype panels with all supporting evidence for their effectiveness, a means to monitor and regulate metrics that are essential to plant life within the high tunnel, and a working irrigation design that will only need implementing.

Customer Requirements (Needs)

Customer Requirements
Customer Requirement Importance Description Comment/Status
CR1 9 Grow food year round
CR2 9 Irrigation system separate from city water source
CR3 9 Multi-functional enclosure structure
CR4 3 Work area separate from growing area
CR5 9 Resistant to vandalism from children (i.e. poking with stick, throwing rocks, body impact)
CR6 3 Rapid changer over of enclosure structure by children

Engineering Requirements (Specifications)

Engineering Requirements
Number Source Specification Unit of Measure Marginal Value Ideal Value Notes/Comments
ER1 CR3 Adaptability of panels Number of purposes 2 >2
ER2 CR1 Air and soil temperatures Degrees Fahrenheit 40 < T < 100 TBD
ER3 CR1 UV Light Needed Mol/day 15 60 UV spectrum range that is able to pass through structure
ER4 CR1 UV Spectrum Transmittance % of spectrum 70 100 % of total UV light that is able to pass through structure
ER5 CR2 Irrigation system: water availabiltiy gal/day TBD TBD Rain variable may require "emergency" water from school
ER6 CR4 Work area implementation ft^2 96 (12x8) 192 (48x8)
ER7 CR5 Stress tolerance of structure Psi Tolerable>TBD Tolerable>TBD Need stress values from specific vandalism issues (stick, rock, etc.)
ER8 CR6 Changeover Time (2 people) min 60 10 First run times may be longer


Budget: Prototype Panels $1,000

Project Budget $15,000

Schedule: Completion of feasible design and prototypes by December 2014

Scope: Remain on target for retro-fitting an already existing high tunnel

Quality: Above all ensure extension to 12 month growing season

Key Deliverables

The design of rigid, side-panels which must have at least one additional use.

The design of an irrigation system to substitute city water when conditions allow.

The means to monitor/regulate internal temperature.

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