The Mt. Cuba Center is breaking ground on a new, sustainable greenhouse and associated plant production spaces.
Bancroft Construction, Wilmington, will oversee the project to build one of the first greenhouses of its kind, running primarily on renewable energy.
“Designing a year-round production greenhouse that is net-zero energy, meaning it creates as much energy as it uses over the course of a year, is quite a challenge, but our team is up to the task,” says James Rockwell, greenhouse and nursery production manager. “Picture a huge glass box that you want to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and you can easily imagine why this is difficult. We will use green energy sources, such as on-site solar power and geothermal heating and cooling, to reach our goal of net-zero energy.”
Technology and automation will drive the new 7,700 square foot greenhouse and 7,600 square foot head house support building, making each portion slightly smaller than a baseball infield. The greenhouse will feature a passively cooled, open roof design to provide light and climate for the native plants grown there to reduce energy consumption. There will be five different temperature zones, including 1,200 square feet of propagation space.
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