Cutting Edge Technology with ACRYLITE® Alltop at Bergen’s Greenhouses
Architectural & Construction
Forest Lake, Minnesota
Description of the Application
The family business in Minnesota has now been operating for four generations. They were one of the first companies in North America to build a greenhouse with ACRYLITE® Alltop UV transmitting acrylic double-skin glazing and thus appreciating Roehm America’s 30 year non-yellowing warranty.
"Locally Grown since 1921" is Bergen's slogan for selling mainly potted plants like hydrangeas, lilies, geraniums, impatiens, begonias and petunias. The company is also renown for seasonal plants like Easter Lilies and poinsettias, which are bought largely by retailers like Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Target and to a smaller extent by big, independent florists in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. With four sites and some 1,130,000 square feet of cultivation surface, Bergen’s is one of the biggest growing enterprises in the region, and at the same time is at the cutting edge of technology.
In addition to the system of the hanging containers, Bergen’s has installed another innovative technology. Built with a unique cutting-edge design, the convertible-style roof opens and closes. The option to open and close the roof completely, allows a simple control of the greenhouse’s climate by venting air that is either too humid or too dry without the use of expensive, energy driven electric exhaust fans. It also enables the plants to grow under natural conditions and become hardened to the climate conditions they will be exposed to when sold.
The entire technology at Bergen’s Greenhouses is based on product quality "To maintain our market position, we have to offer first-class goods. We have to meet the standard we are known for in this region or lose our advantage," "Costs play a major role. We avoid costs by saving energy" Johnson says. ACRYLITE® is a big help in that respect. At the Forest Lake site, all 475,000 square feet of greenhouse space have been glazed with energy efficient ACRYLITE® Alltop UV transmitting acrylic double-skin.
This part of the country is often subject to sub zero temperatures and from November to April there is always the chance of heavy snowfall. The heat-insulating glazing has proved to be a real cost factor in this climate. "We use half as much energy as we would with glass," the Bergen’s have calculated. And ACRYLITE® Alltop UV transmitting acrylic double-skin offers further benefits compared with glass and other materials in terms of light yield. "The material's 86 percent light transmission means the plants grow faster, are more colorful and more resistant to disease. We can compare them directly with plants from our greenhouses built with other materials."
Following the success of Bergen’s first ACRYLITE® greenhouse in 1978, they continued to build greenhouses by the acres - 2 acres in 2003, 2 acres in 2004, 4 acres in 2005, 1 acre in 2006 and 1 in 2007. "The next ACRYLITE® greenhouse is already being built." confides Johnson. Rows of potted plants will soon revolve there too. The begonias and petunias will probably attract other visitors as well. If faint chirps can be heard above the low hum of the conveyor belts, the staff knows they have to take a closer look, and relocate the bird that has built its nest again in one of the flowering containers.