Carnegie Global Ecology Complex Construction Updates 2003
March 17: Today, we began the opposite of construction. This is the destruction phase. Demolition started on the three phytocells, which will be removed to make way for the new greenhouses. The demolition involved a careful separation of aluminum, glass, and concrete.
March 19: Now that the phytocells are gone, the site for the new greenhouses is being prepared. Thenew greenhouses will run along an East-West line, with the Eastern end just to the West of the garage.Click here or here to see the layout.
The work on the roof of building 100 will eventually lead to a photovoltaic system. Therewill be 2 arrays, based on a new amorphous silicon photovoltaic cell. When this system is complete, it will provide about 5 kW of electricity, not enough to run the operation, but a solid investment in the future.
March 26: The installation of the Uni-Solar photovoltaic system is nearly complete. This is configured as a demonstration system, with 3 different kinds of installations - flat, sloped 3 degrees, and mounted in an aluminum housing that provides runoff and rigidity on a flat roof. The system will have extensive monitoring, including web accessible data. Here is a picture of one of the arrays. The web cam will be online soon.
Work on the greenhouses resumed today. When the site was graded last Friday, soil tests indicated that the soil was not strong enough to hold the buildings. To address this, we have decided to remove 24" of soil and replace it with engineered fill (stronger soil).
April 1: The excavation and grading for the greenhouses is nearly complete. The soil on the site has been replaced, to a depth sufficient to hold the buildings.
April 7: The soil replacement and compaction is complete. Work is progressing on the holes for the greenhouse columns. The trench for the fire hydrant supply is taking shape to the North of building 500.
April 9: The vertical poles are support columns for the greenhouses. All of the columns should be erected and in concrete within the next couple days.
April 15: The rain over the weekend put the brakes on recent progress. We had enough rain that all of the trenches and post holes were full of water on Monday. Still, about half of the greenhouse posts were set last week, and the installation of the fire hydrant and storm sewer lines is nearly complete. Today, work on the posts is resuming.
May 9: After much struggling with the rain and permit issues, the greenhouses are really taking shape. The slabs were successfully poured on April 25, even though the day was rainy. This was a masterpiece of concrete finishing. The slabs are a research project, with a variety of concrete mixes and curing strategies. The concrete mixes include up to 60% fly ash as a substitute for portland cement. Flyash is a residue from coal burning that allows one to make strong concrete without the CO2 emissions associated with cement.
Once the slab was poured, work on erecting the building skeletons began on April 29. As of today, the greenhouses look complete. They just lack the skin, and of course the guts that make them work.
June 2: The greenhouses are rapidly nearing completion. Most of the skin, a two-wall polycarbonate, is neary complete, and the dividing walls are mostly in place. This is the week for completing work on the electrical systems. The heaters and coolers are already hanging in their appointed locations, and the vent motors are ready for action.
Because the greenhouses are close to the storage buildings, they will have a complete fire sprinkler system. It is not too clear how a greenhouse could catch on fire, but if one of ours does, it will be put out in a flash!
June 23: The greenhouses are essesntially finished and ready for occupancy. Plants start moving today, and the old greenhouses begin disassembly and salvage. All greenhouse systems are functional, though the controls are operating on semi-manual mode.
June 24: All of the plants are now reident in the new greenhouses, and the cooling is working well, even on very hot days like today.
June 27: The CR10X system to monitor and control the greenhouses is now fully operational. The system controls cooling, heating, and lighting. In the future, it can control humidity, CO2, and other environmental parameters. It monitors, temperature, light, and humidity inside the greenhouses, and these parameters plus, wind, rain, and barometric pressure outside.
June 30: Disassembly and salvage of the old greenhouses is complete, and the old houses are safely offsite.
July 1: Today was the operational groundbreaking for the new research building and warehouse. The first steps are demolition of the remaining parts of the olf greenhouses, plus removal of the concrete slab that held the dumpsters.
July 8: Initial grading for the warehouse and the research building is now complete.
July 9: Based on some poor compaction tests, it looks like we will need to do at least some overexcavation on the site of the research building. This involves removing some of the soil and replacing it with engineered fill.