Van Wilgen’s Garden Center- Sustainable Commercial Building Options

51 Valley Road
North Branford, CT 06471

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Multiple construction projects complement sustainable business practices.

Pat Munger Construction and Van Wilgen’s Garden Center have a 13-year business relationship between the two companies. Munger Construction has completed building additions, greenhouses, retail and warehouse space expansion, upgrades, and most recently integration of a closed loop, water-to-water geothermal HVAC system which uses the earth’s stable temperature to shed heat in the summer and gain heat in the winter with no waste water.

The roots at Van Wilgen’s go deeper than 1920; this is a 4th generation family business that has evolved to become CT’s premier garden center. Van Wilgen’s is well known for their line of Van Wilgen Grown annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, herbs and vegetables, which are grown exclusively on their farm.

The Business Situation

Van Wilgen’s is always looking to add environmentally friendly features to its business. For example, herbs and vegetables are organically grown and maintained; plastic pot recycling saves landfills; and greenhouse heat retention cloth results in heating and cooling efficiency. Lighting improvements and room occupancy sensors increase energy efficiency.
When the need arose to expand its retail area and the office space above it, Van Wilgen’s decided to leverage this “green” opportunity by integrating a closed loop water-to-water geothermal HVAC system. The system would use the earth’s stable temperature to shed heat in the summer and gain heat in the winter with no waste water.
Munger was hired as general contractor for this 6,000 sq-ft. addition to the aesthetically pleasing Varco Pruden facility that Munger had originally created in 1997.

Geothermal Energy: Green Solution for the HVAC Challenge








Sustainable Energy Solutions 

Perfect Complement to Munger’s Green Strategy

LEED certification and sustainable energy solutions have been added to Munger’s services portfolio as part of the Munger “green” initiative.
As Van Wilgen’s general contractor, Munger was responsible for the entire 6-month project including design/build services for the new retail area and office space along with the HVAC system, which is the largest commercial space geothermal application in the area. According to Ryan Van Wilgen, “Frank Sacramone, Munger’s sustainable energy coordinator, did a tremendous job working with us to design the overall HVAC solution, and select the best products and sub-contractors. This gave us the confidence we needed.”

“We enjoy working with Munger because they are a very professional organization. Their proposals, contracts and guidelines are well documented. They deliver the finished product on time. They adhere to their quoted price. They complete any follow-ups, repairs and upgrades in a timely manner. They maintain a very clean worksite.” Bill Van Wilgen, Owner

Pat Munger Construction and Van Wilgen’s

A 13-Year Relationship Between Two Local Companies

1996-1997: completed two story, 4800 sq. ft retail building with offices

1999-2000: built outdoor cashiers’ huts

2003: attached glass greenhouse to retail area

2003: poured concrete, built pergola

2003: built 5000 sq-ft warehouse

2003: added metal roof to landscape garage

2006: enclosed fertilizer room

2007: added electric front doors to retail store

2008-2009: expanded retail space and office area above it

Sustainability Results 

Environmental, Social, Economical

Van Wilgen’s will save money and reduce its dependence on fossil fuel. The geothermal system will pay for itself in 5-6 years with an expected life greater than 30 years.

• Enhanced image in the community as a leader in the “green” industry

• A growing fan base that appreciates sustainable business practices by its suppliers

• Increased sales of organically grown herbs and vegetables

• High employee morale, loyalty and confidence working for a company that practices environmental sustainability

Van Wilgen’s Plans for Future Green Initiatives 

Van Wilgen’s is considering PV solar technology to produce electricity that serves its lighting needs and a portion of the electrical requirements to drive the geothermal system. Since Munger has added PV solar to its green portfolio of services we hope to have the opportunity to play a key role in this project.

Our Team of Subcontractors

Fischer Excavating

First Choice Builders – steel erection

Sima Drillinggeothermal well drilling

G R Wade geothermal and HVAC system installation

Marino Mechanical – plumbing

• Empire Drywall Construction

• R.A. Torre – painting

• F&M Installations – flooring

• Park City Steel – steel stairs

Advanced Overhead Door

APEC Electric

“Munger is easy to work with, and very thorough from proposal through occupancy. They nailed it within a few days of our grand opening deadline.” – Ryan Van Wilgen