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Center for Urban Agriculture

Chicago, Illinois

The Center for Urban Agriculture at Chicago State University (CSU) is a research, teaching, and office space used by the faculty and students of CSU to expand their understanding and practice of low-impact, environmentally friendly food production in an urban setting.

This facility houses a large-scale Aquaponics system, as well as some smaller resource-reuse systems.  The Aquaponics system produces fish for sale to local restaurants, as well as a number of vegetables and herbs.  The system uses the enriched water from the fish growing tanks to fertilize the plants being grown, then uses the non-saleable portions of the plants to feed to the fish, with some added products.

The facility is located in an old warehouse west of the main campus area.  Since its opening, this warehouse has experienced only minor upgrades. This project will provide a new, state-of-the-art workplace for staff and students. The new space will be used as a workplace and showcase where the school can bring groups from around the city to educate them on the systems and help them see the possibilities for urban food production.

Milhouse is the Engineer of Record on this project and is working with 4240 Architecture, Inc., who serves as the Architect of Record. Milhouse is responsible for all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) and fire protection design work for the build-out of the new facility. Milhouse’s scope includes the design of new heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical power, and lighting systems, as well as security, data, fire alarm, protection, and building controls systems to replace the outdated systems.

All of the systems will be designed to promote energy efficiency and energy reuse where possible. The use of energy recovery on the heating and cooling systems, as well as low flow plumbing fixtures and LED lighting fixtures, will help to reduce the building’ s overall carbon footprint.

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