As an architect, you already know that designing a new build with natural daylight and lots of greenery in mind is the latest trend. Glazing, plants and even trees are being increasingly used in buildings. When thinking about how best to achieve that, the best technologyis greenhouse technology. You might be forgiven for thinking that single glazing in a public building is not possible - but it is.It is the interface between greenhouse technology and project construction where the advantages for architects lie.
If there’s anyone at Forzon who has in-depth knowledge of greenhouse technology, it’s Axel Tasté. As an expert in the field, he is able to clearly explain the different options for your projects: “There is one sector in particular that has been working with glass and greenery for decades: the agricultural sector. Bearing in mind the emerging trend towards more light and greenery in all types of buildings, we are going for a cross-pollination with Forzon: project construction meets greenhouse technology. And it is precisely in the area of greenhouse technology where we have years of experience.”
6 advantages of greenhouse technology
1. It is sustainable
“From Amsterdam to Paris, sustainability and the use of greenery and daylight is something that is very much in the minds of architects and the public. Just think of Agrotopia in Roeselare and Gare Maritime in Brussels. By using greenhouse technology in buildings you are responding to this trend. Moreover, you are creating a much better climate for trees and plants in the building, because trees prefer to be behind single glazing. Too much sun can be easily dealt with by installing blinds; and to bring in fresh air, it’s easy to open large areas of glazing using efficient motors. Ventilating has never been easier.”
2. EPB (energy performance and indoor climate) within easy reach
“To meet the EPB requirements, many architects go for double or even triple glazing using mechanical ventilation. Active insulation saves you all that effort, allowing you to control the indoor climate much more efficiently. Too hot? Simply open the glazing. Too much sun? You use blinds. And to optimise the indoor climate, Forzon works with a climate computer, which is the ideal solution for controlling ventilation, sun blinds and even irrigation. With those technologies, it's even possible to work with single glazing in some cases.”
The climate computer applied: the ZIN project in Brussels
Firstly, the building is twenty metres high, which means that the air layers can be used to set the indoor temperature. So in summer, you keep the warm air at the top and the cold air at the bottom. Secondly, there are a lot of trees in the greenhouse. This requires a good humidity level, which is measured using a small, simple device on the wall. When the climate computer detects that the humidity is too high, some glass partitions are opened automatically. If rain or lots of sun is detected, the climate computer does the trick. All those trees need watering and that too is controlled by the climate computer. At night the trees are sprinkled with rainwater collected by a drainage system.
3. The value of the building increases
“Our cities are not green enough. Therefore, in an urban avenue with lots of trees and greenery, real estate is worth more than an avenue without trees. So as a designer, it's advantageous to incorporate a lot of greenery in and around the building, because it can only increase the value of the property.”
4. Something pleasing for the eye as well
“The aesthetics are a major factor as well. It was mentioned earlier that daylight is the trend in contemporary architecture. With a building made of glass, daylight is maximised, creating a pleasant, light-filled environment with minimum energy consumption. Due to the other trend of greening, greenery in and around buildings is being designed much more frequently these days. When you work with glass, the building becomes transparent and you can see plants and other greenery from outside, which gives an attractive view. Finally, with greenhouse technology you can easily give a property a vintage character, which is another much sought after building style.”
5. Cheaper construction
"With greenhouse construction techniques, you can build more cheaply than by using traditional construction techniques. Buildings made of stone, concrete and/or wood require more expensive raw materials as well as more expensive ventilation techniques. With greenhouse technology this is not necessary. What's more, with photovoltaic panels in the glass, you can even gain energy. A win-win in terms of price and climate, in other words."
6. Resistant to all conditions
"What about extreme weather conditions? When it rains hard, the sound in the conservatory can be disturbing. But in terms of statistics, there is only really hard rainfall 5% of the time in Belgium. So you won't be bothered by it very often. And when it’s drizzling, you can hardly hear it at all. We all know about the damage to greenhouses that farmers suffer after a heavy hailstorm. This isn’t something that would happen with greenhouse technology in a public building, because the type of glass used is completely different. It can really take a beating.”
“In short, when using existing greenhouse techniques in project construction you bring together the best of both worlds. You benefit from a perfect indoor climate for people and plants thanks to the efficient climate control of greenhouse technology. The building becomes more sustainable and attractive, is cheaper to build but has increased value, and continues to meet EPB requirements. What could be better? The possibilities are endless. Hospitality venues, office spaces, train stations... Nothing that the experts at Forzon can't deliver.”
To find out more about what greenhouse technology can do for your project, contact Axel Tasté.