Automated Greenhouse Watering and Heating System for the Schenectady ARC

Yusen Meng, Union College - Schenectady, NY
Aikaterini Petridou, Union College - Schenectady, NY


Everyone wants to feel useful and to be able to contribute to their community. The Schenectady ARC aims to provide people with developmental disabilities the resources, services, and support that enable them to advocate and participate within their communities. [1] The program seeks to encourage these people to develop skills and hobbies that give them independence and purpose. One way is operating the ARC's greenhouse. Individuals at the Maple Ridge Center are responsible for operating the water system to irrigate the plot daily and ensuring that the proper amount of water is distributed to the plants. This is a rewarding activity and offers them the opportunity to develop useful skills in greenhouse management and maintenance. However, despite offering manual and automatic options, the current equipment of the greenhouse is not user-friendly and vulnerable if water leaks. The objective of our project is to communicate with the Schenectady ARC to develop an automatic controller for heating and water delivery that will be easy to use, safe, robust, affordable and easy to maintain. This project was started by Guo Qianyue CPE ‘16, kept on by Stengel Kyle CPE ‘18, continued by Lisa Gu CPE ‘19, and followed by Larissa Umulinga CPE ‘20. [2] [3] [4] [5] The system we created is a wireless sensor system that reads and transmits the moisture and temperature data wirelessly to control the watering and heating system at the ARC greenhouse. This paper describes the problem, goals, design specifications, testing plan, standards and ethics for this project.