Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara University


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Tonya Nilsson


The design of a cold climate solar thermal greenhouse was inspired by a trip the design team took to the Denali Education Center (DEC) in Alaska. The DEC expressed the need for a greenhouse because the soil in Alaska is too cold to grow fresh vegetables and fruits during the late Spring and Summer months. A solar array located on the campus, currently used to heat Water, produces an excess amount of heat that needs to be directed elsewhere. By heating the inside of the greenhouse through the solar array, the DEC will be able to extend its growing season while simultaneously improving the energy use on site. The proposed solution includes a complete structural and geotechnical foundation design, as Well as recommendations for the design of the mechanical heating system. The center promotes sustainable living, so in addition to the greenhouse, the project includes a rainwater collection tank used to irrigate the produce within the structure. The ultimate goal of the project was to develop construction drawings so that the project may be implemented at the DEC in the near future.