Sustainability building specialists, Green Build Systems, have launched their latest range: the GBS Modular Vertical Farm. This is a vertical farm system designed to offer flexible, sustainable solutions in an ever-changing environment. So, what separates this vertical urban farm from others, and how did they come to this result? Alex Pearce, CEO of GBS talks us through the system.
One of the first issues that hit the team was the lack of real choice: "It appeared to be either: the massive high Cap Ex draining industrial scaled farms, using automated systems where many have yet to break even; or, retrofitted metal container farms utilising all types of available internal equipment put into a structure that is not designed for purpose.
This does not make optimum use of internal space because they are not designed for what is being asked of them, and they require almost constant heating and/or cooling in fluctuating weather conditions plus it was noted that air flow was constantly an issue."
With a background in construction and more recently eco construction, Alex knowledge of sustainable buildings and recognised that the 'real costs' of making a container into a truly sustainable building envelope were so much higher than was being portrayed. Certainly in today’s environment, according to Alex, they don’t conform. It was almost impossible to meet building reg “U” values, energy performance requirements, or levels of insulation without considerable expense.
Alex continued “I can appreciate that it seems a straightforward option, just buying into a ready-kitted container farm and in my view, if you simply want to grow some local greens and are not seriously interested in business economies and enjoy the lifestyle then good luck to you. If, however, you are seriously looking to make a difference and have a profitable farm capable of attracting interest from serious
players developing urban projects, or supplying restaurant chains, then stop and think again. In our view you will need an 'envelope' that complies with building regulations, can be adapted easily to suit local planners and Urban design control, so for example it can be cladded with brick-slip if it needs to have a brick finish to comply, and is both sustainable and energy efficient."
Imagine you are looking to put an urban farm into, say, an underground carpark , how do you get a full-sized container on the back of a truck into the space let alone unload it? All Green Build Systems modular vertical farms can be delivered flatpack and can be assembled on site if required, anywhere in the world.
"Fully designed and specified by our structural engineers to be sustainable, energy efficient and to comply with building regs. The farms have also undergone serious trials of internal equipment to find the most suitable for optimizing yields. Even the HVAC system is a fully bespoke system that through mathematical modelling operates in the most efficient way. The systems are designed to be able to work with renewable energy systems if required, back-up battery systems and designs can also include electric vehicle charging points," says Alex.
The beauty is simple, the farms can be as large or as small as you require, and they can grow with you. And, as well as being flexible in modular format the farms are capable of operating different systems that GBS have developed, from wide span shelving hydroponics, to tower hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics to a hybrid aeroponic system, it all depends upon your requirements, bespoke solutions for bespoke requirements.
GBS are not the only ones who recognize the potential or the significance of our range of modular vertical farms. This project has been monitored for some time by early visitors to the development and “Crate to Plate” are in discussions with us now for the potential commitment to purchase 16 farms over the next two years. Crate to Plate is an independent, London based, urban farming conduit harnessing the latest state-of-the-art hydroponics technology and eco-friendly innovation.
“The modular concept of the Modularponic farm plus the flexibility of growing mediums is what first caught our interest especially knowing
that we can fit in almost anywhere within an urban environment," Alex notes.
"If you think you can’t grow veggies in your part of Scotland, think again!" Crate to Plate, CEO and founder, Sebastien Sainsbury.