SOON we will open a new call for sustainable greenhouse projects (roof, facade, ground...) exclusively located in Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland and UK.
The GROOF (Greenhouses to reduce CO2 on Roofs) project is an innovative cross-sectoral approach to reduce CO2 emissions in the construction and agriculture sectors by combining energy sharing and local food production.
The idea is to use rooftop greenhouses as a tool to:
Recover actively (use of the ventilation system) and passively (insulation effect) the heat produced and otherwise lost by the support building in a horticultural production installed in a rooftop greenhouse,
Collect the CO2 produced by human activity and the activities of the support building to feed the plants,
Practically, the project facilitates the emergence of this type of greenhouse on the market by demonstrating and disseminating good practices to actors in the building and agricultural sectors that are favourable to the development of profitable and functional economic and social models.
The project specifically aims to:
Identify and reduce market access barriers (urban planning rules, technical regulations, insurance, etc.): GROOF teams studied the practices in different NWE countries as long as the local regulations. The interview of several pioneers such as BIGH (Belgium), Urban Farmers (The Netherlands), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain) and others provided valuable information that will be used to produce guidelines for early adopters struggling with the implementation of CO2-cutting rooftop greenhouses.
Support the first users in the implementation of their project: 10 early adopters have been selected through an open call and are currently coached by GROOF experts. The success of those 10 different profiles will demonstrate the relevance of several business models involving rooftop greenhouses and is expected to inspire others. You can discover the early adopters here.
Experiment and demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology for a representative number of business and social models: GROOF is investing in four pilot projects, designed to prove the effectiveness and sustainability of models related to different types of buildings. They are located in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. You can discover them here.
The results of each activity will be openly shared on our international community on the online platform Construction21 where regional and national public authorities, SMEs and large enterprises, research centres and general public are invited to interact.
This community also host a mapping of existing and planned rooftop greenhouse projects in the world. Each project leader is invited to fill in the information of his or her project in order to share it with the world and benefit from the community’s feedback.
The social media for sustainable buildings and cities
5 Rooftop Greenhouse Projects coached by GROOF until June 2021
Among the 10 projects coached since 2019, the jury of the Groof project has selected 5 pioneer projects for the second phase of coaching in the implementation of their rooftop greenhouse. The partners of the Groof project, European experts in construction, energy, production and business, will extend their individual coaching in Belgium and France until June 2021.
Through several thematic days and individual coaching sessions, this coaching enables project leaders to anticipate production and construction in order to avoid certain additional costs, to discover a variety of economic models and activities, to network and develop partnerships, or to settle down in a given territory by including stakeholders from the very beginning of the project design.
10 projects coached since 2019
From September 2019 to September 2020, Groof has already supported 10 rooftop greenhouse projects for a total of 175 hours of individual coaching and 5 on-site visits to help them build, develop and implement their project. These projects bring together different greenhouse techniques (hydroponic greenhouses, aquaponics, soil-based vegetable gardens, etc.) as well as different types of projects (educational, social, private, etc.) but all of them focus on ecology and the respect for environmental values.
DISCOVER THE EARLY ADOPTERS - PROJECTS COACHED BY GROOF
Adhoc habitat participatif
Location: Kirchberg (Luxemburg)
Adhoc habitat participatif is a non-profit in Luxemburg aiming at providing affordable housing for a long-term stable community. With their rooftop greenhouse, they will strengthen social cohesion among the residents by creating connection to the environnement.
The goal of the greenhouse « Green(s)pote» led by Les amis de l'Entrepote in Brussels (Belgium) is to enable the neighbours to garden all year long and produce vegetables such as tomatoes, peas, salads, herbs, etc. A part of the production will directly go to the kitchen of Belgobon, the restaurant just below the Garden.
"J'habite mon jardin" project was created by Tours Habitat, the social housing organization of Tours city. The greenhouse is designed as a tool for social inclusion. The production of vegetables and fruits is mainly intended for future inhabitants of the site. The production part will be supplemented by training, animation, communication towards a wide audience, from students ‘groups to urban farmers.
Yncrea engineering school wants to create the first future city’s European demonstrator of food & agriculture. The figurehead of this project will take place in an historical building of the city of Lille called « Palais Rameau » just next to Yncrea’s actual campus. In this 3000 square meters space, Yncrea will create different areas related to local food production and transformation in the city. Yncrea will create different areas including: a Biohacking space for project based pedagogical approaches (including an urban farm), a food factory, a teaching center, an innovative showroom, a start-up incubator, a vertical farming experimental unit, an open space for the citizens.
“Les Petits Poucets” will pursue two objectives, firstly it will produce and sell in the city center of Namur healthy, fresh and tasty products, and secondly it will provide training cycles for the project developers.
Cueillette Urbaine is a company that works for the development of urban farming and its benefits for cities. Their goal is to design, install and operate productive and ecological urban farms. They want to create a turnkey urban farm system that consumes little energy and is totally environmentally friendly while being productive. Through Culina Hortus, they plan to build up the first aquaponic and bioclimatic greenhouse farm in France on the rooftop of the 12th floor of a Parisian building (PARIS 12).
Novacitis is willing to create synergies through the Four food-related units that they will be built up in the former carpentry of the City of Liège : a roof production area, a cafeteria, a local food store and a food processing unit. It will welcome small groups for awareness-building activities offered to local schools and during team-building events organized for enterprises.
This project of 400 square meters space is located in Nantes, France, on the roof of an existing 24-apartments residential building. It will offer to inhabitants a new volume to be invested for various common activities: shared garden, urban agriculture experimentations, educational venue for the neighbourhood. The architectural project transforms the image of a social housing neighbourhood.
Pousses & Vous! has the vocation to develop pedagogical projects in primary and secondary schools, in tight collaboration with the teachers, through field role-playing situations activities. They aim at contributing to the education and awareness of young people on the importance of supporting smart local activity to meet demographic challenges while respecting the environment and being involved in a social approach.
The core business of this rooftop including a greenhouse at See you in Brussels, Belgium, consists in school visits while the harvests represent the by-products socially valued through donations to caritative organizations.
The project consists of developing a multifunctional urban greenhouse and a common vegetable garden located on the rooftops of apartment buildings available to the residents.
The implementation of this project was driven by the real estate developer Axone Promotion who wants to provide the residents of its buildings with new common areas in connection with food production. Toits Vivants is an association which aims to develop integrated and participatory edible ecosystems.
Knowledge and expertise in construction design, stability, materials, technical assessment, calculation, risk analysis. Specialties in roofing and structure. Knowledge in material behaviour and innovative combination. Skills in technical project analysis.
Analysis of the energy flows of the existing building and the project itself, counselling for techniques and measurements to reduce energy demand and implement existing flows to reduce CO2 emissions.
The plant production expertise consists both in the design of plant production system and the management of the production. This includes knowledge in growing system, plant nutrition, light, pest and disease management, practical organisation of the work.
Emphasis on the viability and durability of the candidates’ project, with the respect of the candidates’ vision. This includes: the stakeholders, the cultural & geographical specificities, the social & environmental involvement, the competition, etc.
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The GROOF project is investing in four pilots, designed to prove the effectiveness and durability of the models related to different building types, in Belgium, Germany, France and in Luxembourg.
Read more on each project below.
→ Fermes de Gally - Pilot
Urban roofs remain a little exploited space on which agriculture can develop and provide sustainable solutions to food, economic and climate issues in the city. A new stage in this urban agricultural development is therefore to create greenhouses on the roof that are totally integrated into the building's flow: in particular heat, water and CO2. In this context, our greenhouse project on the roof of the Ferme Urbaine de St Denis consists of the construction and operation of a productive vegetable garden of 360 m² on the roof of the office and workshop building of the Ferme de St Denis, an urban farm run by les Fermes de Gally. This project will produce hydroponic and substrate agricultural products sold locally, in addition to farm production in the ground. The greenhouse will have to work in synergy with the support building. Its location on the roof offers the advantage of enhancing the flat roof surface and thus preserve the floor space for the activities of the Kersanté Farm of St Denis (FKSD in the following). This feature will also allow it to easily connect to the heating and ventilation network of the building to recover heat and CO2, contained in the stale air, necessary for the cultivation of plants.
The urban greenhouse of the TERRA building is part of the WASABI platform which brings together in one location all the innovative agricultural production systems adapted to the city and in dialogue with biodiversity. The platform and the urban greenhouse is an institutional project supported by Gembloux Agro Bio-Tech and ULiège.
The urban greenhouse will have an area of 198m² and will be divided into three compartments dedicated to research, teaching and demonstration of innovative systems adapted to urban agriculture. The main compartment (132 m²) will be dedicated to research only and will host experiments related to urban agriculture (hydroponics, aquaponics and bio-ponics). The second compartment will be dedicated to the demonstration and experimentation of innovative systems, both for students and for other publics. The third compartment will be used as technical hall. The greenhouse will reproduce conditions suitable for temperate crops such as lettuce and tomato. This greenhouse will be characterized by an accurate climate control, the production system will be modular in order to grow different crops.
The ebf pilot is a Sunlight greenhouse, which is a modern approach to the classical lean-to concept. It is a greenhouse which is focused on minimal energy demand and utilizing existing energy flows to achieve a year-round operation. In combination with an internally mounted photovoltaic shadowing system, the greenhouse is becoming the worlds first plus energy greenhouse.
The pilot will be installed on an old packaging hall of a former nursery which is now being reinstated by ebf to show how a futureproof and sustainable horticulture business can look like. It will unite modern plant production technics with a social aspect of creating a community starting from an early age. The rooftop greenhouse will be implemented in the whole operation harboring specialized plants like chili peppers which can be harvested all year. Furthermore, the schools and kindergardens of the surrounding area will participate in the operation. Here, they have the possibility to learn and share the knowledge for food production. This gives the opportunity to help people reconnect with food production and give them back the responsibilty for their own food security.
The IFSB pilot project will be installed on the extension of its company restaurant. The size of the greenhouse will be 18 x 20 m. The rooftop greenhouse will be located near the training site and will house plants that can be used directly in the restaurant below.
Here, the idea is to integrate a food production greenhouse above a restaurant. A reconnection between local food production and people in order to raise awareness about their food. In addition, a corridor will allow visibility over the production area without disturbing it.
The connection to the building to recover CO2 and heat makes sense for the construction sector. Indeed, this sector in Luxembourg will thus be able to have a project integrated into the building allowing a recovery of CO2, a future challenge for this sector.
GROOF project is coordinated by the CDEC (Conseil pour le Développement Economique de la Construction), with the support of the INTERREG NWE programme, and carried out with eleven partners (public and private) from Luxembourg, France, Belgium, Germany and Spain.
Each partner brings valuable skills and knowledge to the project such as construction process and methodology, building energy management, urban agriculture development, knowledge of plants and cropping systems, entrepreneurial skills, socio-economic skills, etc.
Our consortium is glad to announce that GROOF capitalisation initiative has been approved by the Interreg NWE programme. Our new initiative is all about supporting more sustainable greenhouse projects through an individual and collective coaching. We will support your project’s development to increase your chances of success and improve its potential of CO2 saving! For this call, any sustainable greenhouse project in connection to a building or a city can apply, our scope is not exclusive to rooftop projects anymore. Read More
Who do you think can benefit from the lessons learned from the GROOF project?
Architects, building owners, projects and project developers in urban agriculture and city planners. They can see the benefits and challenges of the implementation of iRTGs. In this project phase, students as well as interns can become part of the project already during their bachelor’s degree and learn directly from the GROOF’s progress and challenges. Read More
The experience of GROOF partners in coaching professional urban agriculture projects reveals that, although these projects have multiplied in recent years, the definition of a viable economic model remains complex for some projects, as the activities of education and resale of the project's own productions sometimes prove to be unprofitable. Among the existing solutions to improve the economic viability of such projects, the diversification of income sources based on peri-urban or rural agriculture is a good alternative. Discover below, four urban agriculture projects with rooftop greenhouses that have managed to innovate and multiply partnerships with peri-urban or rural farmers to consolidate their economic model. A collaborative motivation that is beneficial for urban agriculture and more broadly, useful for addressing the resilience challenges of cities of the future. Read More
GROOF experts led by IfaS worked on the design of the pilots from the beginning. Today, IfaS produced a very detailed and technical report about the design of ULG and IFSB's pilots. Have a look at the data and the technical choices made by the partners in this article. Read More
On September 23rd, Groof project participated in the inauguration of the Walloon platform in urban agriculture, WASABI, in Gembloux at the Centre of Research in Urban Agriculture (CRAU) of the University of Liège! This event has gathered over 200 specialists of urban agriculture, online and offline, for a full day of master classes and guiding tours of the different sites. In the presence of His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium and the Minister of Agriculture and Economy, Willy Borsus. Read More
Part I: Reducing the energy loss in the building.
Installing a rooftop greenhouse not only gives us the opportunity to build a future proof and reliant urban farm, it also helps a lot with saving energy in multiple areas in the support building and the area around the greenhouse.
This is the first article in a series of three parts, concerning mainly the energy loss reduction in the support building due to the greenhouse installation. The next two parts will cover the circular economy of material flows and the greenhouse as an energy collector. Read More
Article paru dans le journal Le Soir en Belgique - Le projet européen « Greenhouse to reduce CO2 on roofs » (Groof) vise à réduire les émissions de CO2 en milieu urbain en combinant récupération de l’énergie et production locale de végétaux dans une serre sur toit – une zone rarement exploitée sur les bâtiments en ville. Read More
Who do you think can benefit from the lessons learned from the GROOF project?
The most benefits from the GROOF project can be obtained for professional or semi-professional food producers who are already established and can fall back on knowledge in the field. The GROOF project can add a lot of expertise on top that how a project can be adapted on a rooftop. Furthermore, even non-rooftop urban farms as well as classical horticulture businesses outside of cities can profit from the large knowledgebase laid out by the GROOF experts. Read More
Who do you think can benefit from the lessons learned from the GROOF project?
Nicolas Ancion (NA): The knowledge developed within GROOF will be very helpful for the people involved in a rooftop greenhouse project. Moreover, I do believe that it could also be valuable for any urban agriculture project. Indeed, we do not consider the greenhouse as an objective, but as a tool allowing, in a specific context, to achieve environmental, societal, and economic objectives. Read More
"We offer knowledge in circular economy and material flow management, especially in regards to energy and resource efficiency and management. HS-Trier/IfaS has also an expertise in environmental assessment methodologies, such as greenhouse gas emission accounting, in order to contribute to the identification of potentials to improve buildings’ environmental performance. Thus, we contribute to GROOF with technical support including technical monitoring of CO2e performance in order to maximise emission savings."
What were the motivations of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) to get involved in GROOF project?
"Transfer knowledge accumulated during the last ten years of work and research within ICTA-UAB in urban agriculture in southern Europe. Also, help promote Urban Agriculture in cities and, in this way, reduce CO2 emissions in buildings and make horticultural production more circular."