Talks Business
November 2019

Klein's Adds More "Green" to its new Greenhouse

When she decided to renovate her east-side Madison business, Sue Klein wanted an optimal growing environment where plants would thrive year-round and an energy-efficient facility.
image of sue klein

Sue Klein expanded the family business, Klein's Floral & Greenhouses, adding a beautiful and energy-efficient new space on the site where it all began.

"Going above and beyond to save energy and protect the environment is the right thing to do. We all bear this responsibility," Klein said. "I was committed to incorporating energy efficiency into the design."
Renovating Klein's Floral & Greenhouses meant saying good-bye to the old farmhouse and greenhouses that had been in her family since 1913 when her grandparents bought the property on East Washington Avenue. It was the home where her father was born and where she grew up.
"While it was difficult to close the door on that chapter, it was time to update the aging facility to make it safe and sustainable for the future," Klein said. "The original greenhouse was constructed with a wooden frame, leaks brought excessive water indoors during the rain and overall the facility wasn't very energy efficient."
"I wanted something better for my children who likely will carry on the business," she added.

Greening the greenhouse

After seven months of demolition and construction, Klein's Floral opened the doors last year to its new and modern facility. The $3.2 million project includes a 22,000-square-foot greenhouse and an 8,000-square-foot retail and floral design center. Energy-efficient features that Klein incorporated include:
  • Radiant floor heating and a new heating system to efficiently control the temperature, which is especially critical in a greenhouse environment.
  • Polycarbonate curtains to minimize heat loss in winter and provide shade in summer.
  • Ceiling insulation.
  • LED lighting.
"And we now have automatic ventilation," Klein explained. "In the old facility, we had to stand on a bench and manually turn a handle to open and close the vents."
These improvements are expected to save Klein's more than $29,000 annually in energy costs. The life cycle energy savings are enough to power more than 650 homes for a year.
Klein's qualified for several Focus on Energy® incentives totaling nearly $31,000 to help offset the project cost, including the Design Assistance Program. It provides builders and building owners with energy-saving options for the design of new buildings and then incentives for high-efficiency measures that exceed Wisconsin energy code requirements.
Focus on Energy offers a variety of incentives to businesses for making energy-efficient equipment upgrades and retrofits for existing buildings and new construction projects. Learn more at

Energy efficiency award

Focus on Energy, along with MGE, presented Klein's Floral with a 2019 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award. It honors Klein's commitment to energy efficiency and the smart decisions she made in designing the new facility.
"For years, we visited different greenhouses and made note of features we liked, including energy-saving options," Klein said. "It was a good starting point when we began working on design with our contractors and Focus on Energy."
"Klein's is truly leading by example," said MGE's Jillian Page. "Sue took the initiative and made wise, energy efficiency choices throughout her renovation that will provide benefits for years to come."

Mixing the old with the new

While a modern facility with energy-efficient technologies was the project goal, Klein did incorporate some old pieces from the original farmhouse:  wooden yard sticks that are part of the design counter, bricks from old chimneys are positioned around vestibules and the entrance and exit, and her grandfather's 1928 pickup truck that sits in a corner filled with flowers.
"At the end of the day, I am proud to have expanded the family business with this beautiful and energy-efficient new space right here in Madison on the site where it all began," Klein said.