Rooftops as Farmlands
An ultra-lightweight, self-contained sustainable rooftop farm, full of ultra fresh and organic super foods. Countless architectural, ecological, environmental, and educational benefits. Zero Food Miles, Infinite Possibilities.
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- What is rooftop farming?
- Is rooftop farming a new idea?
- What can we grow on the roof?
- What types of building can we use?
What is rooftop farming?
Rooftop farming is the cultivation of produce for food on the roof of a building. In many ways, rooftop farming is a specialized application of what is often referred to as a ‘roof garden’. In addition to the aesthetic, recreational, ecological, and architectural benefits provided by roof gardens, rooftop farming’s focus on local food production supplies its maintainers and the community with fresh produce and promotes small-scale local agriculture as well as a tangible connection to the food source. Rooftop farming is most common in urban areas, where ground-level agricultural opportunities are scarce. It works wonders for urban planning, as well — rooftop farms absorb solar radiation reducing the ‘urban heat island effect’, insulates and cools the host building (and thereby reduces electricity use), and manages stormwater by delaying and reducing the hazards of rainfall runoff. The manifold benefits of rooftop farming are exciting, proven, and available now.
Why FarmRoof is the best way to bring a rooftop to life.
Is rooftop farming a new idea?
People have been growing things on roofs since the ziggurats of ancient Mesopotamia and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon — it’s not exactly a new idea. Today, rooftop farms can be found in cities around the world, albeit in small numbers. With the abundance of unused rooftop space across the globe (Honolulu alone has more than 17 million square feet of rooftops) you may wonder why there aren’t more farms above us. Traditionally, the reason has been weight — the majority of rooftops in existence today were not designed to withstand the extreme loads that conventional rooftop farming methods exert on the building below. That’s where FarmRoof comes in…
Learn what types of building can accommodate rooftop farming.
What types of plants and vegetables can we grow on the roof?
We can grow virtually anything on a FarmRoof, but the system is most economical, smart, and efficient when used to grow culinary herbs, gourmet greens, and heirloom vegetables. These types of plants provide plentiful and edible produce quickly and are a perfect fit for our proprietary FarmRoof system.
What type of building can accommodate a rooftop farm?
Weighing in at as little as 5 pounds per square foot (psf), a typical FarmRoof installation exerts minimal pressure, perfect for virtually any type of building. Per square foot, our system weighs a fraction of other systems — conventional rooftop farming methods can add as much as 300 pounds per square foot (psf) of additional load, well above the threshold of most buildings.
The typical load bearing capacity (psf) of common building types are listed in the table below:
|Building Type and Land Use||Occupied Stories||Construction Material||Construction Era||Size/Scale||
Additional Loading Capacity (psf)
A removal of pea-gravel/rock ballast (secured on the roofs of any of these buildings) can increase the ‘dead-load’ capacity by an average of 4-5 psf for every inch of ballast removed.
|house ⋅ residential||1 to 2||wood-framed||any||up to 4 units||20|
|apartment building ⋅ residential||1 to 4||wood-framed||after 1950||4 to 10 units||15|
|apartment tower ⋅ residential||5+||concrete or steel||after 1980||more than 10 units||5 to 7|
|mixed use ⋅ retail/residential||2 to 5||wood-framed||any||varies||varies (8 to 12)|
|shops ⋅ commercial||1||wood-framed||after 1970||varies||17|
|warehouse ⋅ use varies||1||masonry or concrete block walls, riveted steel or large-timber columns||prior to 1960||large, open floor plan||5|
|big-box ⋅ retail, industrial||1||concrete block or tilt-up concrete walls, interior steel posts||after 1960||large, open floor plan||5|
|repair shop ⋅ commercial||1||concrete block||any||smaller, open floor plan, open storefront||7|
|office building ⋅ office||2+||varies||after 1960||varies||17|
|community building ⋅ school, hospital, church, auditorium, library, theater, police, fire, post office, etc.||1+||varies||varies||varies||varies (5 to 17)|
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