The goal of the Fertilecity project is intensive and sustainable food production in cities. This is achieved through integration of a high efficiency ICTA-ICP (LEED Gold certified) rooftop greenhouse on buildings, designed from a circular economy focus. From an environmental, social and financial point of view, the project has analysed the strengths and weaknesses of rooftop greenhouses though a combination of different methodologies, including Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Integrated Value Model for Sustainable Assessment (MIVES) and programmes for modelling building energy (TAS). The application of these methodologies has required a multidisciplinary team made up of environmentalists, chemists, agronomic engineers, chemical engineers, civil engineers, industrial engineers, architects, experts in materials and industrial designers.
The chosen greenhouse (LAU-ICTA) for implementation on a rooftop is located at Building Z, ICTA-ICP, on the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona campus. The roof is made of polycarbonate, with 45º slopes to collect condensation and improve natural ventilation. The greenhouse is four useful metres high. The greenhouse infrastructure mainly consists of steel (structural) and polycarbonate and polyethylene (façade/casing) elements, and includes thermal panels to shade the crops and optimise energy consumption. The LAU-ICTA consists of two modules (LAU1 and LAU2) measuring 125 m2 each (80 m2 useful) that are integrated into the rooftop of the building, the aim being to produce vegetables using soil-less production techniques without any outside source of energy (not even for controlling air and heat). More than 2,000 kg of tomatoes have been produced in two years on a surface area of 80 m2. 80% of the water used on the crops (tomatoes, lettuce and beans) has come from collected rainwater. The residual heat of the building has been used, meaning that there was no need for any external energy either for heating or cooling.
In 2014, the FertileCity and (CTM2013-47067-C2-1-R) coordinated project began to research a new vegetable production system using multidisciplinary instruments (LCA, LCCA, energy efficiency and MIVES), as well as methods to analyse agronomic behaviour and its feasibility. The rooftop greenhouses are currently at the initial stage of research and implantation. The goal of the FertileCity II (CTM2016-75772-C3-1/2/3-R AEI/FEDER, UE), 2017-2019, project is to further research and potentiate urban agriculture using integrated rooftop greenhouses, thereby providing the information and instruments to make them possible.