In 2009, Mohamed Hage and Kurt Lynn had a vision to supply a large, local population with fresh food. That vision meant a different kind of farm. After founding Montreal-based Lufa Farms, their vision led them to an office building’s rooftop in the heart of Montreal.
Urban rooftop gardening is a fast-growing enterprise, but Hage’s and Lynn’s vision was asking more of a rooftop garden than one had before. The two approached Westbrook Greenhouse Systems for help in taking the local food practice to a new level.
The challenge? Construct a commercial greenhouse range that could yield year-round fresh produce for hundreds of households, as well as one that could function in Quebec’s harsh climate. Of course, there was also the challenge of constructing on a building’s rooftop.
Lufa Farms worked with Westbrook to construct a pioneering 31,000-square-foot curved glass greenhouse for the site. Early planning revealed the structure would need to be designed to mount on a concrete floor that would act as an energy-saving shield to the offices below. Provisions for heavy snow loads, strong winds and the added weight of a hanging gutter system would also be included.
Westbrook’s Solar Curved Glass Greenhouse was chosen because of its strength and high light capabilities. Twin roof vents in combination with a fan and cooling pad system were added for environmental control. The tempered glass panels are large and durable, as they will stand up to a harsh winter environment more than 40-feet off the ground.
Inside, a hot-water heating system was designed and installed with high-efficiency natural gas condensing boilers split into multiple zones. A custom irrigation system with NFT troughs, rolling tables, rainwater collection and energy curtains were also installed to meet the project’s demands.