Construction Pictures for
The Roper Solar Greenhouse
215 Maywood Street, Blacksburg, Virginia
Located in the Hale-YMCA Community Gardens

Regularly redisplay this web page to keep up on the progress of the YMCA Solar Greenhouse.

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Operation Data
Inside Construction
Building a SGH with SHCS

Excavation by J. W. B. Contractors (23 October 2008):
Footer installed by Conrock & Green Valley Builders:
ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms; made from recycled materials):
Expanded polystyrene held together by strong polypropylene ties 6" apart.
The ties are connected to plastic furring strips for attaching finishes on both sides.
Preparing to install the ICF:
Installing the ICF under guidance of Doug Hoback:
Dave Roper is "supervising".
ICF is in place!:
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Jeff Ligon & Conrock & Green Valley Builders pouring the concrete into the ICF (18 November 2008, 27°F day) :

Justin Boyle inspecting.
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Waterproofing by Snyder Waterproofing
Ready to build the heat sink:
Building the Heat Sink
Installing 2" Green Guard insulation under the heat sink:
Starting to put in the 3' of rocks:
Putting rocks over the first layer of 4" slotted pipes:
Note that the wiring and plumbing has been installed in the rocks.
Putting rocks over the 3rd (last) layer of 4" slotted pipes:

Heat sink is finished!:

The water tank will be on the north side of the center-post pillar. The waterproofing of the walls needs to be higher. The pipe at the center of the west wall is the input pipe, on which the fan will be installed. The longer pipe will go on top of it with a screen on its top to keep animals out.

The two outlet pipes with the elbows will direct air over the plants:
There will be screens over the outlets to keep animals out.
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Rafters painting:
Framing the structure:
Jason Boyle, Justin Boyle and Richard Reid cutting the large rafters:
One of the rafters is bowed, but not enough to cause a problem:
Installing the top beam.
John Sullivan, Jason Boyle and Justin Boyle installing the top beam and rafters:
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Richard Reid, John Sullivan and Josh Hanna installing the north roof:

South roof rafters and blocking boards in place for installing polycarbonate:

The 2nd-from-the-right rafter was the bowed one. Hammer Down Construction managed to take out most of the bow when inserting the purlins. Note that the center post has been installed.

John Sullivan (Hammer Down Construction) framing the ends:
West wall ready for Hardie board:
East wall ready for Hardie board:
Installing the base hardware for the polycarbonate glazing on the south roof (14 February 1009):
Installing the polycarbonate; Pat Bixler up high:

Richard Reid and Justin Boyle handing the first sheet.
Richard Reid and Dave Roper installing the first sheet:
Pat Bixler "supervising".
Almost half done installing the polycarbonate:
Jason Boyle on top putting on the last sheet. Chris Roberts behind him. Justin Boyle and Tim Colley below:
Chris Roberts on the "Poly Slide" installing the final screws.

Pat Bixler and Jason Boyle assisting:
A day of happiness (14 Feb 2009):

Travis Radford spraying 3" of closed-cell foam insulation.
Completing the inside:
Volunteers Carolyn Bea & Boram Kim painting Hardie board.

Volunteers Laura Doody cleaning up & Tyler Nichols filling cracks.
Painting Hardie board:

Virginia Tech Air Force ROTC paint and cleanup crew 5 April 2009.
Steven DiStefano Siding Company crew installing Hardie siding inside & outside:
West inside view with Hardie board installed:
East inside view with Hardie board and door installed:
Slanting Hardie board at bottom of polycarbonate inside:
East side done except for painting and landscaping:
West side done except for painting and landscaping:
Sarah Vosti of the Chi Delta Alpha service sorority painting up high:
Caron Sinnerberg of the Chi Delta Alpha service sorority picking up trash:
Kelly Daly of the Chi Delta Alpha service sorority painting the roof:
Two primer coats in place:
Chris Roberts and Pat Bixler installing the electical cabinets inside and outside:
Volunteer ladies painting primer on east end:
Roof finished by Henderson Roofing:
Starting to build the walkway and install the soil simultaneously:
Planting beds:
Sun Gro donated 75 bales of Organic #1 Mix
Debbie Wiley starting putting soil inside:
Hardie-board boundary between the rocks under the walkway and the soil:
Debbie Wiley after putting soil inside:
Walkway rocks in place:

Berek Crawford did much of it.

Walkway done:

Dave Nickerson helped finish it.

Abigail Convery painting up high:
Hole for cistern dug by J.W.B. Contractors:
2000-gallons cistern in place:

It was designed as a septic tank and made by CT Jamison Precast.
Cistern pipes:
Backfill mostly done:
Dave Roper after painting the ends with Dave Nickerson:
Inlet pipe in place above the heat-sink fan:
Concrete pad is ready for the water tank:
Steven DiStefano Siding Company put the ridge cap on:
Heat-sink fan wired and shelves built around the heat-sink inlet pipe:
Access to the cistern:
Pipes and wiring to cistern:

It includes a float switch to turn off sump pump when water level is low.
Cistern cover:
Exhaust fan installed:
Water system installed:
Gutters installed:
Bug screens on the downspouts and cistern overflow pipe:
Screen door installed (10 August 2009):
Patio construction by Heritage Stone Productions
K-Guard Gutters
Patio walls construction by Heritage Stone Productions (8 September 2010):

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L. David Roper,;