Vancouver Plans Rooftop Agriculture
December 20, 2011
A VertiCrop system installed Paignton Zoo, Devon, UK
This past spring, the city of Vancouver launched a greening campaign with the vested goal of becoming the greenest city in the world 9 years hence. Among the more ambitious tasks on the city’s spectacular to-do list, which includes such ambiguous items as “green economy” and “climate leadership,” is “green building.” Scoff you might, but the strategy moves beyond the extensive and largely aesthetic greening efforts of other international cities, as it would require all buildings constructed after 2020 to be carbon neutral and would pledge to reduce energy usage and carbon emissions of existing buildings by 20%. With these measures in place and with a growing tech industry, Vancouver hopes to inspire new ways into making and occupying space.
Fitting, then, are new plans to convert a downtown garage into a greenhouse capable of growing 95 tons of produce a year. As the Vancouver Sun reports, the “high-tech” greenhouse will span 6,000 square-feet of the garage’s rooftop space and will be outfitted with a Verticrop irrigation system patented by Vancouver-based Valcent Products. The four-meter high towers with moving conveyor trays will cycle the plants for watering and sunlight exposure. According to Valcent, the amount and variety of vegetables the system is expected to yield will be comparable to the harvest output of 16 acre fields. The project is set to begin construction in January, with work and planting to be completed by the spring.