Is the future of the greenhouse industry in the city? Will you be looking to add extra floors rather than more land to your greenhouse? Swedish-American company Plantagon is offering a solution that builds a high-rise model for urban agriculture, rather than the traditional sprawling greenhouse range.
Plantagon’s helix-shaped greenhouse offers clean and sustainable food production in urban areas. In addition to standalone greenhouses, Plantagon creates commercial buildings, such as offices and hotels, with functional greenhouse area built into the facade. Growing area can also be retrofitted onto existing high-rise buildings. The structures provide the buildings with shade, but let through enough sunlight for office activity.
The idea behind the production area for the urban agriculture greenhouses is that vegetables are grown in pots and trays, which are watered using an ebb-and-flood technique. Capillary mats are used at the bottoms of trays to keep plants irrigated. Planting happens in the basement and trays are moved to the top of the helix using a tray elevator. When the trays complete a circuit to the top of the building and back down, the plants are ready for harvest.
”Urban Agriculture is exciting and challenging in many ways. The Plantagon Greenhouse has attracted a lot of attention all over the world, and we believe that the new generation of greenhouses — combining a sustainable building with function and great design — will be even more attractive to cities,” says Eva Nygren, CEO of Sweco Sweden AB, Plantagon’s partner company.
By expanding the greenhouse vertically, Plantagon’s patented technology will increase the amount of crops produced considerably compared to the land area used, permitting multiple harvests for the same growth period.
”By also being able to offer commercial areas for academic institutions, hotels, enterprises and organizations, or even private homes, we are adding additional streams of revenue, besides the vegetable production. This definitely makes our greenhouse business model even more interesting,” says Hans Hassle, CEO of Plantagon.
Is this the future of the greenhouse? Would greenhouses in the city attract more people to choosing horticulture as a career? What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments.