The Elaine Dobbin Centre for Autism is the provincial headquarters of the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. Located adjacent to Memorial University and the Health Sciences, the centre has a diversified program portfolio which provides social, educational, and employment opportunities for individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The centre has been proactive in employing social enterprise models to its daily operations. As a charitable organization, revenue development is key in being able to provide the world class programs and services we currently offer.
One of those social enterprise aspects of the organization is the Aliant Pioneers Greenhouse located on the grounds of the centre. The greenhouse produces a variety of flowers in the Spring of the year and in the summer and fall, produces plants such as peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. These plants are sold to the public in pots and also used in the The Pantry Cafe, a full service restaurant on-site which also employs individuals with ASD. Currently the greenhouse is powered through the use of propane gas and due to the cost of gas, is not operated during a number of colder months of the year. The centre would like to be open year round and not have to rely on propane gas during part of the year. This increased growing season and removal of dependence on propane would provide a savings and an increased revenue generation for the centre.
We are looking for someone to help determine the most economical means to power the greenhouse and extend the growing season throughout the whole year. We would be looking for research into alternative forms of energy that would be applicable for the facility.