What is vertical farming?
Vertical farming is the latest farming trend looking to solve the issues of food production and increase food security for a growing population. Food is grown indoors, where the conditions can be controlled to mirror the optimal conditions for the harvest. This means crops can be produced all year round, without the barrier of seasons or carbon-footprint-causing air-miles.
Crops are grown on many levels to maximise on available space, allowing the crop farm to be positioned close to urban areas.
There are clear sustainability advantages of vertical farming including low wastage, very low water use, minimal land use and no pesticides, all with predictable yields of high-quality produce.
From a consumer’s perspective, vertical farming offers tastier and fresher products all year round, picked when ripe, grown without pesticides or fungicides, and virtually untouched by human hands. The extreme density of vertical farms allows them to be placed nearer population centres.
The benefits of controlled-environments in vertical farming
Vertical farming environments typically don’t need particulate control in growing areas. However, air-tight envelopes, the supply of services, and tight control over environmental parameters—such as light, temperature and humidity—is all second-nature to cleanroom design and build specialists.
Typical hydroponic growing facilities features:
- Watering systems
- Lighting, including different wavelengths
- Temperature and humidity control
- Zone control
- High room height (3m+) to allow for vertical grow racks
When an environment is required to deliver multiple combinations of parameters, such as humidity, temperature and particulate control, the air supply processing demands will be high. To avoid unnecessarily high energy consumption and running costs, facility owners can look to create zones that localise control to a specific part of the process. Once these zones are established and their specific tolerances defined, the facility will benefit from lower energy consumption and a reduction in the level of plant associated due to process-appropriate HVAC specification.
With vertical farming, zone control brings the added benefit of allowing environments to be tailored to replicate climatic conditions to support the urban agriculture of various crops.
Common crops for vertical farming:
- Salad greens
- Berries, fruits and vegetables
- Medicinal herbs
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