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Farnek signs deal with Urban Ponics for vertical garden

Rooftop will also feature solar panels which the firm says will enable it to meet hot water requirements

Farnek has inked a deal with green-tech projects specialist developer Urban Ponics (UP). The deal will see UP help design and create a 240sqm rooftop vertical garden at Farnek’s new staff accommodation centre in Dubai South – Farnek Village.

According to a statement from Farnek, the rooftop garden will be dominated by a 200sqm ‘shade house’, a structure which provides a mix of shade and light to create suitable conditions for shade-loving plants.

Urban Ponics states that it will transport this structure in parts from Holland to Dubai and together with Farnek’s in-house engineering team, assemble the metal tube framework for the 3m-high structure onsite. It will come with shade netting, grow pods, lava buckets, misters, pumps, water tanks, irrigation and drainage pipes.

The garden, which is expected to be complete in mid-January 2021, will be used to produce over 3,000 leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, and spinach, as well as tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, capsicums and chillis. The first harvest should be ready in around six weeks from seeding and will be used in Farnek’s own kitchens and promises to be cleaner, tastier and more nutritious, than ordinary salad plants, the statement explained.

A top official from Farnek said that the firm decided to embrace the concept, not only to repurpose the bare concreted space on the roof, but to grow fresh vegetables and other produce for its 5,000 staff, living at the $54m complex.

“Farnek is an innovative sustainable company and we are always trying to identify new ways of managing our business in a cost and energy-efficient manner. Farnek Village will soon be home to thousands of our employees and we wanted to create a project that would be symbolic of our purpose and our values. Due to its sustainable design, space is at a premium in the Village and this initiative makes perfect use of an aspect that is generally under-utilised at best and completely ignored at worst,” said Farnek CEO Markus Oberlin.

The company says the 100,000sqft low-rise facility will raise the bar for intelligent buildings by employing the latest smart technology and the most energy, water and waste-efficient accommodation centre of its kind, not only in the UAE but throughout the region. Through smart and sustainable design, the firm says it hopes to save at least 20% more than a conventional staff accommodation centre, in energy and water savings, which could be worth up to $816m every year.

Another 150sqm of rooftop space will accommodate solar panels which will meet all hot water requirements, and more than 4,000 LED-lights are to be installed throughout the complex, supplying 90% of the total amount of lighting required, the statement explained.

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