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Integrated rooftop greenhouses: symbiosis of energy, water and CO2 emissions with the building Towards urban food security in a circular economy

Total activity: 2
Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Funding entity code
96.800,00 €
Start date
End date
azotea, building rooftop, cambio climático, climate change, eficiencia energética, energy efficiency, environmental impact, food safety, greenhouse, impacto ambiental, invernadero, recursos, resources, seguridad alimentaria
The world growing and more numerous cities use almost 70% of energy, produce more than 70% of waste, contribute more than 75% to
greenhouse emissions and are highly dependent on food, with the impact and uncertainty that this entails. In cities, homes consume the
largest share of energy and are one of the main emissions sources. Meanwhile food production depends on basic resources such as
energy (especially transport), and water (in southern Europe irrigation consumes around 80% of groundwater).
The coordinated project Fertilecity I (CTM2013-47067-C2-1-R) preliminarily evaluated an eco-innovative concept for improving
sustainability in buildings and the production of high quality food by integrating greenhouses on rooftops and taking advantage of
unidirectional residual flows synergies (building to greenhouse) of energy, water resources and CO2 emissions. The aim was to carry out a
first analysis of a new system of horticultural production using multidisciplinary tools such as the assessment of life cycle (LCA, LCC),
energy efficiency and sustainability models and methods to analyse their agronomic performance and viability in the urban planning with
an interdisciplinary approach (energy, water, agronomy, environment, architectural, construction, sustainability, ...).
Indoor greenhouses in buildings are at an early stage of implementation in North America through local production companies and in the
most populated areas of Asia (China, Japan, Singapore, ...). In Europe, this type of production is still incipient and greenhouses are always
isolated on rooftop without connection to the building.
The aim of project FertileCity II is to progress in the research and implementation of urban agriculture (food safety) through integrated
greenhouses on rooftops, taking advantage of bidirectional residual flows synergies (building to greenhouse and greenhouse to building) of
energy, water resources, CO2 emissions and also wastes, providing information and tools that make it possible. In Fertilecity I project a
new infrastructure on the top floor of the building ICTA-ICP UAB in Bellaterra, Barcelona, whose construction ended in December 2013
and has been partially used from January 2014 to March 2016 (lettuce and tomato production) started up. This infrastructure has got for
the moment only a building unidirectional connection in terms of energy, water (rainwater, without recirculation) and CO2.
FertileCity II project will focus on the building and greenhouse bidirectional connection; recirculating of water and nutrients (resources)
used in agricultural production; detailed energy modelling of the integrated greenhouse and building and its comparison with conventional
greenhouses; architectural and construction study, both at building and neighborhood scale; reuse of waste generated; partial
(environmental, economic, social) and overall sustainability analysis; and identifying business models and opportunities with horticultural
products resulting from the greenhouse for all type of companies.
This symbiosis greenhouse-building (energy, water, CO2, ...) requires a multidisciplinary approach covered by researchers at UPC
(experience in energy, environmental impact, architecture and sustainability assessment); UAB (experience in environmental areas, urban
water cycle and economic/social evaluation); and IRTA (experience in agronomy and greenhouse effect). The coordinated project is
structured in 10 tasks covering all these areas.
Adm. Estat
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Call year
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad
Funding call
Retos de Investigación: Proyectos de I+D+i
Grant institution
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco


Scientific and technological production

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