How new green house boosts business at bend garden center

When it was time to replace an aging greenhouse,Moonfire and Sungarden center inBend opted for a model that’s not only larger but very energy efficient. The new 36-by-50-foot greenhouse is made of twin-wall polycarbonate—providing an extra layer of insulation compared to single-wall construction. In addition to providing excellent conditions for plant propagation, the greenhouse doubles as an expanded retail space for the garden center, which is also a re-wholesaler for local landscapers.

“The new greenhouse is surprisingly inexpensive to heat considering our colder climate and the fact that it’s 30% larger,” said Brandon Reese, co-owner. “It’s so comfortable inside we’ve been able to expand its use to hosting night-time classes on gardening and wreath making, community meetings and other activities.”

Moonfire and Sun received an Energy Trust of Oregon cash incentive of $3,500 to help offset the extra cost of the twin-wall polycarbonate, which is saving the garden center an estimated $1,000 in annual natural gas costs. “The cash incentive really softened the blow of investing in energy efficiency,” Reese said. Moonfire and Sun worked directly with their greenhouse vendor to learn about offerings for nurseries and to select the greenhouse.

“Energy Trust’s paperwork was very easy, and because we’re also a landscaping company, we were able to do our own in-house construction and installation,” Reese said. “Overall, we’re very pleased. Customers are better able to see the larger greenhouse from the street. They comment on the pleasant environment. The greenhouse offers better mobility for customers with wheelchairs or walkers. And our retail sales have definitely increased.”

Could your nursery benefit from energy-efficiency upgrades? Energy Trust offers rebates and calculated cash incentives for Oregon customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas and Avista. Your vendor can help you identify the most cost-effective improvements and apply for cash incentive

The latest research conducted with the support of Energy Trust of Oregon’s  Net zero fellowship grant details the greatest energy-saving opportunities for the developers of new multifamily buildings in Oregon.

Katy Anderson is an energy analyst at Glumac, an engineering firm designing sustainable new buildings. Anderson was selected for a 2019 Energy Trust Net Zero Fellowship grant, in which Energy Trust provides up to $50,000 to support net-zero energy research over a 12-to-18-month period. The grant is available to qualified professionals or companies with an interest in advancing net-zero energy commercial buildings.

Net-zero buildings create as much energy as they use. But, due to size and occupancy fluctuation, achieving net zero in multifamily structures can be challenging. Through her research, Anderson sought to gain a better understanding of energy use in multifamily buildings, explore common energy efficiency strategies for net-zero design and review the associations and drivers between efficiency and construction costs.

Anderson’s research found these three key takeaways:

  • In high-density multifamily buildings, water heating is often the highest energy user. Therefore, the use of efficient heat-pump water heaters can potentially bring the largest energy savings.
  • Increasing insulation and selecting high-performing dual or triple-pane windows can significantly reduce HVAC loads. A 25-30% glazing ratio or glass-to-wall ratio is high enough to allow for daylighting and low enough to keep heat transfer and construction costs low.
  • Making sure HVAC systems are not over ventilating or bringing in too much outside air can save significant energy. Over ventilating can more than double the energy usage and cost of conditioning ventilated air at code-required levels.

Interested in applying for the Net Zero Fellowship? Energy Trust is accepting applications through June 11, 2021. Building industry professionals, including, but not limited to, architects, engineers, building science professionals, urban planners, policy professionals and academics, are encouraged to apply. Learn more about the program and application process.

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