New greenhouse heating units, thermal curtains covering upgrades and a solar system at Peoria Gardens help maintain the right temperature year round, which has improved growing conditions while saving an estimated $121,800 in annual energy costs.
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The wholesale bedding plant nursery installed a total of 46 new high-efficiency condensing unit heaters in its greenhouses and replaced old boilers with two new high-efficiency condensing heaters in one of its propagating greenhouses. The new heaters are expected to save 76,100 therms each year.
New thermal curtains on some of the greenhouses are programmed to automatically deploy, which helps reduce heat loss during winter nights. They also work as shade curtains in summer. The nursery replaced aging single-wall polycarbonate on an older greenhouse with triple-wall polycarbonate covering for its roof and walls, which more efficiently and effectively maintains a warm climate for holiday and other winter plants. In addition to the natural gas projects, Peoria Gardens installed a 38-kilowatt rooftop solar electric system, which now generates one-third of the electricity the nursery uses.
While Peoria Gardens has received a total of $219,100 in Energy Trust incentives for these projects, the nursery is not done yet. “We weigh the upgrade options with what our facilities will need in the future,” said owner Ben Verhoeven. “While the energy-efficient option may come with a higher price tag upfront, Energy Trust makes the payback doable.”