How about blacking out your greenhouse completely? It is one of the options Dan Cloutier with greenhouse designer Agro Resilience Kit (ARK Ltd) offers to his clients. "We design and build transparent greenhouses and non-transparent greenhouses. Our customers have the option to choose between a fully insulated black out grow facility or alternatively a highly translucent greenhouse membrane. The light deprived solution provides a 100% controlled environment with extreme air tightness and high thermal values. the translucent greenhouse uses mother nature to grow with naturally diffused lighting that eliminates shadowing."
Blacked out greenhouse
Over the last couple of years the company has completed various projects of both.Some of their projects are 100% blacked out - like an 18.000 ft2 vertical farming operation, growing organic vegetables in multiple tower gardens. "It represents 1,200 acres of conventional crop farming and allows complete environmental control, unaffected by climate. Also the use of water and fertilisers is minimised."
The project is equipped with two layers of architectural membrane envelope: a 9” (228mm) thick plant based insulation blanket that results in thermal efficiency (R-30) complete with an air tight envelope.
Also of course ARK build many greenhouses growing with natural light. "Obviously this eliminates the requirement for artificial lighting plus the benefits of solar heat gain during daylight hours. Our greenhouse membrane provides high translucency and the ideal amount of natural light while light diffusion eliminates shadowing."
In addition to their building activities, ARK themselves operate as a grower as well. They operate a corporate greenhouse, providing fresh produce to the 125 employees of Sprung Structures, a building company ARK works together with closely. Together they've formed a consortium. "It has been set up to bring together best practices and offer the resulting kit for sale globally through Sprung Structures distribution channel."
An important subject in their solutions, is the energy efficiency of the building, guaranteed by the BREEAM-certificate they've collected recently. "The air tightness (measured by BREEM) of our buildings are un-paralleled. We have just completed energy modelling with Hortinergy and it proves very well."
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