Solar Greenhouse produces both food and energy

Food is an issue of great importance for our future on the planet, and the impact on the environment of food production, transformation, and distribution can be minimized using new solutions employing "zero kilometers" production and advanced farming techniques.

This issue is the focus of the work of a team of students, professionals and experts in the Master’s Program in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB) at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) Valldaura Labs. The group built a Solar Greenhouse in the Natural Park of Collserola, on the outskirts of Barcelona, which, according to the authors, “is the result of the investigation and search of new ways of adapting to modern life and withstanding future food and energy crises, reinterpreting the way we meet our most basic social needs in a more ecological way. The project proposes a space for self-sufficient cultivation as a solution to food and energy production in cities." 

It was built using solar energy, sustainable materials, and advanced cultivation technology that can be implemented in the countryside or on rooftops in the city to make an effective contribution to food self-sufficiency. The prototype built by the team at Valldaura Labs is a "zero kilometer" project, further reducing its ecological footprint. The use of water, the substrate and building materials from the surrounding area entirely eliminate the supply chain characterizing today’s food industry. Not only is the frame of the greenhouse made out of sustainably grown pine wood harvested and processed in the Valldaura area, but the layout of the structure on two levels limits all forms of impact. T

The germination area is on the ground floor, while the upper level is set up for cultivation employing advanced hydroponic techniques permitting plants to grow without consuming farmland. The substrate in which the plants are grown contains recycled sawdust, a waste product from the Green Fab Lab, another IAAC laboratory in Valldaura, and the greenhouse roof is made of 'diamond-shaped' glass to capture as much sunlight as possible so that it comes in directly to the solar panels and the plants cultivated in the greenhouse. 

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