New ICTA-UAB map shows success, concerns and challenges of the transition away from fossil fuels and coal industry in Australia

Resistance against massive coal-mining in Australia and a growing movement for a ‘just transition’ from fossil fuels have enjoyed some success but face massive challenges, as shown in a new map developed by researchers from the international ACKnowl-EJ project of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB)  and the Australian Environmental Justice (AEJ) research team at the Centre for Urban Research (RMIT University.

ICTA-UAB researcher Victoria Reyes-García receives an ERC Consolidator Grant

ICREA researcher at ICTA-UAB Victoria Reyes- García has been graced with a Consolidator Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) for the development of a project aimed at bringing insights from local knowledge to climate change research.

Research to study the health effects of forests

The ICTA-UAB, CREAF and the "la Caixa" Bank Foundation recently presented the project "Healthy Forests for a Healthy Society".

Blockadia map by ICTA-UAB reveals global scale of anti-fossil fuel movement

A new interactive map by researchers of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) reveals the worldwide impact of resistance direct actions by people putting their own bodies in the way of fossil fuel projects.

The ICTA-UAB participated in the 100xCiencia.2 meeting in Alicante

The encounter, which was focused on the transfer of knowledge and technology, brought together representatives of 40 centres and research units “Severo Ochoa” and “María de Maeztu”, respectively.

Launch of the Alliance of Severo Ochoa Centres and Maria de Maeztu Units of Excellence

​ The Secretary of State for R&D+i, Carmen Vela, chaired the kickoff meeting of the new Severo Ochoa and Maria Maeztu Alliance of Excellence.

Green gentrification can limit the favourable effects of green areas on health

A scientific research conducted by ICTA-UAB and IMIM suggests that more socially disadvantaged neighbours do not benefit equally from the effects newly created green areas have on health.

Oil contamination in the Amazon modifies chemical composition of rivers

A scientific study by the ICTA-UAB and ISS-EUR quantifies the environmental impact of oil extraction activities and contamination in headwaters of the Amazon.

ICTA-UAB researchers alert that oil palm plantations produce infertility in tropical lands

Oil palm plantations are replacing 40% of tropical forests and 32% of basic grain crops, according to an ICTA-UAB research conducted in Guatemala.

UAB scientists and citizens can identify Barcelona's allergy-causing plants with the new Plant*tes app

The UAB Point of Information on Aerobiology (PIA) presented its new Plant*tes app in Barcelona as part of the BArcelona City Council's project entitled "Ciència Ciutadana als barris".

EJAtlas Includes 2,100 Case Studies on Socio-Environmental Conflicts Around the World

The Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas), created by researchers of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), currently includes 2,100 cases of ecological distribution conflicts identified in different parts of the world.

Unrestricted Improvements in Fishing Technology Threaten the Future of Seafood

A study conducted by ICTA-UAB researcher Eric Galbraith shows that future improvement of fishing technology poses a threat for the global fishery that could be greater than climate change.

Ice age thermostat prevented extreme climate cooling

During the ice ages, an unidentified regulatory mechanism prevented atmospheric CO2 concentrations from falling below a level that could have led to runaway cooling, reports a study conducted by researchers of the ICTA-UAB and published online in Nature Geoscience this week.

The New Theory of Economic “Agrowth” Contributes to the Viability of Climate Policies

 ICTA-UAB researcher Jeroen van den Bergh publishes in Nature Climate Change a study in which he proposes a new economic theory compatible with the fight against climate change.

European Project to Analyse the Effects of Waste Generated by Tourism on Mediterranean Islands

An European study involving the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma e Barcelona will address and propose solutions to the effects of the increase of waste generated by tourism on Mediterranean islands during the summer season.

New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

The new ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide' it is at your disposal now. With this document, we aim to help you discover the basics of the PhD programme, ICTA-UAB’s structure, etc.
News
Building-integrated rooftop greenhouses: An energy and environmental assessment in the Mediterranean context

Date: 2017-10-02

Building-integrated rooftop greenhouses: An energy and environmental assessment in the Mediterranean context


World urbanization is projected to reach 69% in 2050 and therefore, food production requires closer examination. Urban agriculture is seen as an innovative solution which can offer sustainable food supplies within the urban context especially due to limited access to green spaces. Therefore soil-free rooftop greenhouses are seen as a viable option for food production. The energy consumption in both buildings and greenhouses is high and recycling of energy, carbon dioxide and water can be achieved through the integrated rooftop greenhouse. The major challenge to this advancement is insufficient empirical data.

In a recent paper published in Applied Energy, Ana Nadal and colleagues reported measured data outlining the symbiotic relationship between the integrated rooftop greenhouse and the building in terms of energy, and quantified the heating energy recycled by the greenhouse from the building.

A 7-storey building which houses 4 rooftop greenhouses each measuring 128 m2 enabled this study. The research team focused on one of the greenhouses with a crop area of 84.34 m2, which uses low-density polyethylene curtains as well as a thermal screen. This improves the internal heat condition and insulates the space from the rest of the building. The thermal screen and curtains are both automatically operated as a function of the internal temperature of the greenhouse. The research period was between December 2014 and December 2015.

The authors noted that the average seasonal temperatures in the integrated rooftop greenhouse ranged from 16.5 °C during winter with a minimum of 6.3 °C, to 25.9 °C during summer with a maximum of 39.7 °C. This was within the recommended optimum range of 14-26 °C. At winter nights with outdoor temperatures dropping to -3.6 °C, the greenhouse temperature was 6.3 °C which was as a result of the thermal inertia that the concrete floor provided, as well as the application of the curtains and thermal screen to minimize thermal loss. This translates to better thermal conditions and energy savings when compared with conventional free-standing greenhouses.

It was further observed that the greenhouse’s thermal behavior closely resembled that of the building’s atrium as opposed to the outside conditions, with the greatest difference being in autumn and winter.
The authors compared the researched rooftop greenhouse with a simulated free-standing greenhouse and noted that the indoor climate of the research greenhouse met the optimum temperature range condition in over 76.3% of annual hours. However, the free-standing greenhouse under similar climatic conditions would meet this condition in 42.4% of annual hours in an unheated condition and 65.1% of annual hours when heated, which is due to higher instances of summertime overheating of a freestanding greenhouse. The simulation result shows a free-standing greenhouse would have required a total heating demand of about 43.78 MWh with a peak heating load of 66.62 kW, and this provides a scale of the total recycled heat by the actual building integrated greenhouse.

A comparison of a heated greenhouse and the research greenhouse, in terms of carbon and financial savings, shows that the former’s heating demand would produce 113.8kg CO2(eq)/m2/yr at a cost of 19.63 €/m2/yr when an oil boiler is used. These savings demonstrated in the study show the viability of integrating greenhouses into buildings.

Reference:
Ana Nadal, Pere Llorach-Massana, Eva Cuerva, Elisa López-Capel, Juan Ignacio Montero, Alejandro Josa, Joan Rieradevall, Mohammad Royapoor. Building-integrated rooftop greenhouses: An energy and environmental assessment in the Mediterranean context. Applied Energy 187 (2017) 338-351.

(Published in Advances in Engineering)

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