As part of the Botanic Garden’s ten-year strategic plan, “Keep Growing,” a new nursery is being constructed, including numerous structures such as a soil storage facility, tool storage shed, potting shed, pump room, mechanical equipment room, material storage, and recycle drop-off facility. Additional structures included Growing Ground Benches structures, heated Winter Quonsets Growing Ground structures, and facilities for endangered species and aquatic tanks.
Along with MEP / FP design and consulting services, ESD was an integral partner in the nursery’s photovoltaic (PV) system design for the pavilion roofs along with the acquisition of a $172,800 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. ESD provided design and consulting services for the PV system, including performance calculations throughout design and for the grant application process. We also provided assistance with the permitting process with Cook County and coordination with the utilities.
The PV array consists of three hundred and twenty 270-watt modules facing west at a 2⁰ pitch. Although south facing with a greater pitch is preferred, this relatively flat position was chosen to complement the aesthetics of the nursery pavilions while maximizing the roof space to allow for the production of 114,596 kWh and $11,964 in utility savings annually. The return on investment for the system includes using the generated energy to supplement other Garden facilities nearby, including new plant production greenhouses once constructed, illustrating the Garden’s mission for sustainability and beauty through energy savings.