New State-of-the-Art Hydroponic Greenhouse
“Providing Job Training for Veterans”
Riverview Gardens (RVG) is a non-profit organization located on a former country club golf course in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin. An innovative, self-sustaining, social enterprise, RVG provides job training for people in need via its urban farm and financially supports other community outreach programs.
For the last several years, RVG and its volunteers have been working tirelessly, transforming the fairways into a much different landscape. Portions of the original golf course have become garden beds, orchards, and hoop greenhouses while other areas are being returned to their native prairie and woodland state.
One portion of the original property that was no longer being used was the outdoor swimming pool. Collaborating with the Outagamie County Veterans Treatment Court on a project to help veterans adjust back into the community, RVG recently transformed the unused pool into a year-round hydroponic greenhouse. The facility will provide job training opportunities for veterans in need of a safe and positive working environment, preparing them for a successful transition back into civilian life.
Miron Construction Co. Inc. of Neenah, WI, served as the design-builder on the 7,500 square-foot greenhouse project, partnering with Somerville Architects/Engineers, Paul Boers Manufacturing, AmeriLux International, and seventeen other companies who generously donated their time and materials.
“One of our core drivers is community involvement”, said Chad Pingel, Sustainable Services Manager for Miron Construction. “What an incredible opportunity to support such a worthy non-profit’s plan to become self-sustaining!”
Riverview Garden’s state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouse is considered a best-practice in the industry. The high-production facility is temperature controlled and useable year-round. Glazed with 18,000 square feet of LEXAN™ THERMOCLEAR™ 15 Softlite, the twin-wall polycarbonate material will help reduce heat loss during the cold Wisconsin winter months.
In addition to having excellent thermal properties, covering the new greenhouse with polycarbonate panels made the most sense for its intended use. The material is durable and long-lasting, retaining its high light transmission, clarity, and mechanical properties for years. LEXAN™ THERMOCLEAR™ 15 is the industry's only polycarbonate multiwall glazing panel available with a 20-Year Extended Warranty.
The 100% diffusion feature of the Softlite panel allows plants to benefit from high levels of light for growth while protecting them from harsh, intense sunlight. The scattering of the light encompasses both top and bottom leaves, resulting in faster, uniform plant growth.
According to Project Superintendent, Kevin Bikowski, the installation of the polycarbonate panels went smoothly. He worked directly with the individuals installing the panels and experienced no issues. “They were easy to install,” Kevin said. “AmeriLux was very good to work with. They were responsive to any questions that arose and delivered materials on time.”
“We love seeing our products being used in new and innovative ways. This facility will elevate the work that Riverview is doing,” said Travis Vanden Heuvel, Director of Business Development for AmeriLux International. Travis was AmeriLux’s point person on this project. He went on to say, “Their business model, centered on job training for veterans, is the gold standard in self-sustaining, social enterprise. We are so proud to have had the opportunity to work with them.”
RVG’s hydroponic growing operation will include the incorporation of microgreens. Microgreens are vegetables harvested in their early stages of growth. This early harvest of the plant provides the peak amounts of nutrients to the consumer. Riverview Gardens plans on initially growing lettuce, eventually expanding to tomatoes and herbs.
Food grown on-site will be sold to local grocers, restaurants, hospital cafeterias, and corporate cafeterias. Revenues will support RVG programs, aiding in achieving financial self-sufficiency for Riverview Gardens. The new hydroponics greenhouse is anticipated to generate more than $200,000 annually.
If you would like to learn more about Riverview Gardens and their mission, please click here to visit their website.
A special “Thanks!” to our friends at Riverview Gardens and Miron Construction for involving us with the construction of Riverview’s new, state-of-the-art, hydroponic greenhouse. AmeriLux prides itself on community engagement and giving back to the people in Northeast Wisconsin. This project provided us with an opportunity to do that.
LEXAN THERMOCLEAR is a trademark of SABIC
LEXAN™ THERMOCLEAR™ 15 sheet carries an Industry Leading 15-year warranty against yellowing as well as 15-years against breakage caused by hail. As a compliment to SABIC’s warranty, the AmeriLux Extended Warranty increases total coverage to 20-years.