Revitalizing MSU greenhouses

Michigan State University (MSU) stands as a pioneer in greenhouse research. Yet, its aging infrastructure presented limitations to further research advancements.

MSU's greenhouse complex covers 90,000 square feet, most of it built between 1955 and 1978. Plant scientists at MSU tackle major global challenges, such as increasing food production to feed a growing population and mitigating the effects of climate change. Recognizing the age of its infrastructure, the university acknowledged the urgent need for modernization to uphold their dedication to excellence and innovation.

To address these challenges, MSU initiated a revitalization project, hiring Prospiant, the largest North American provider of large-scale commercial greenhouses. The goal was clear: revamp the aging greenhouse infrastructure to enhance energy efficiency and precision climate control, crucial for advancing research and meeting evolving agricultural needs.

Substrate Selection: ACRYLITE® acrylic verses Glass
Both diffused glass and acrylic were considered for this project but, ACRYLITE® Resist multi-skin Clear Diffuse (0RS07) acrylic stood out. It was the preferred choice due to its outstanding qualities, especially its suitability for northern climates. Acrylic outperforms glass in cold conditions, crucial for maintaining ideal greenhouse environments. It also offers superior light transmission, ideal for areas with limited sunlight exposure. Additionally, acrylic's strength exceeds that of glass, making it more resilient to heavy snow loads. Its lightweight nature simplifies installation and reduces support needs, improving cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

Light Distribution
ACRYLITE® Resist clear diffuse panels UV stability ensures they remain durable and resistant to brittleness, degradation, and yellowing over time. This is crucial for maintaining the sheet's ability to maximize light transmission, essential for a healthy greenhouse environment. These panels contain acrylic diffusion particles that help evenly disperse light, promoting consistent plant growth and increasing productivity.

Thanks to their strong rigidity, ACRYLITE® Resist multi-skin panels can cover large areas with fewer supports needed. This means reducing shading and maximizing light levels. Also, the diffusion properties of ACRYLITE® Resist clear diffuse product help scatter light throughout the greenhouse, reaching deep into the plant canopy. This consistent lighting benefits the plants by resulting in fewer areas with excessive heat, less shade, stronger plant growth, and richer colors. Even during times of low-angle sunlight in the morning and evening, these panels increase light penetration into the greenhouse, ensuring optimal growing conditions throughout the day.

Unmatched Glazing Assurance

ACRYLITE® Resist multi-skin acrylic is backed by a warranty which includes 10 years of guaranteed light transmission, 10 years against hail damage, and 30 years of non-yellowing.

Larger Sizes Improve Leak Points and Installation Time

Due to its exceptional rigidity, ACRYLITE® Resist multi-skin sheet enables the rapid and efficient glazing of large areas. In fact, a single sheet of ACRYLITE® Resist can replace between 8 to 10 pieces of lapped glass, thereby substantially reducing the number of potential leak points in the structure.

UV Protection
UV rays pose risk to both the durability of greenhouse materials and the well-being of workers. It can accelerate the degradation of plastics, such as irrigation lines, within the greenhouse. Additionally, individuals working inside the greenhouse must protect themselves from UV radiation, often requiring protective clothing and sunscreen. The use of ACRYLITE® Resist multi-skin acrylic addresses these concerns.

Choosing ACRYLITE® Resist multi-skin panels for this greenhouse project was a strategic decision based on its performance in demanding environments. With superior light distribution, UV protection, and weather durability, MSU demonstrates a commitment to sustainable and innovative greenhouse management practices.

Explore more case studies featuring ACRYLITE® acrylic panels for greenhouse glazing by clicking here.

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Revitalizing MSU greenhouses