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Architecture Students Build Solar-Powered Greenhouse That Uses 50% Less Energy

[Apr 28, 2022: Hailey Kanowsky]

The students developed the greenhouse during a master’s program at the Catalonia Institute for Advanced Architecture. (CREDIT: Adrià Goula/courtesy IAAC/Pati Nunez Agency)

A group of architecture students built a solar-powered greenhouse that produces 50% more energy than it uses.

If greenhouses are not designed and maintained properly, they can use quite a bit of energy. Energy conservation in greenhouses can make the profit much larger. The team came up with a new way to generate and store energy in greenhouses through solar power.


The students developed the greenhouse during a master’s program at the Catalonia Institute for Advanced Architecture. The students built the two-story house in two months, led by architects Vicente Guallart and Daniel Ibáñez.

(CREDIT: Les Sourciers/Youtube: Peter Kuczia)


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They build the 130-square-foot greenhouse in Barcelona’s Sierra de Collserola Natural Park that can grow its own food and produce its own energy. The structure is made from pine timber sourced from the region, and the greenhouse is on a small plot of land next to Valldura Labs, a self-sufficient habitat research center.

(CREDIT: Adrià Goula/courtesy IAAC/Pati Nunez Agency)


The concept could be replicated and put on city rooftops and places like refugee camps where it may be hard to get food or energy to grow food. The structure has two floors where the plants can germinate on the bottom, then continue to grow upstairs. The angled roof helps catch the sunlight during the day, and the inside has LED and UV lights powered by solar panels, to help the produce grow at night. There is also an irrigation system set up that is infused with nutrients to help speed up the growth of the food. The roof has solar panels in a checkered pattern, while the front and back windows are opened for ventilation.

(CREDIT: Adrià Goula/courtesy IAAC/Pati Nunez Agency)


The greenhouse only uses 50 percent of its energy, and the leftover is used for the Valldura Labs facility. One of the lead architects, Guallart, said that the number would’ve gone to 75 percent if they had covered the whole roof in solar panels, but they couldn’t with budget restrictions.

The design has already influenced a rooftop greenhouse for the highest timber building in Barcelona. The greenhouse will be ten times bigger than the prototype. Guallart said, “If we decide we want to produce food and energy in our cities, we can do it, the only thing we need to do is adapt our buildings or make our buildings focused on that.”

For more science news stories check out our New Innovations section at The Brighter Side of News.


Note: Materials provided above by Hailey Kanowsky. Content may be edited for style and length.


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