Sky High: Synergetic Vertical Farming

The Sky High project is a multidisciplinary research programme focusing on improving the productivity, predictability, and replicability of vertical farming. One aspect of the research programme involves exploring the integration of vertical farms within buildings and cities and identifying resources synergies between these three entities. This includes utilising the waste heat from vertical farms as space heating within the building, using CO2 from inside the building to enrich the growing environment, making use of rainwater harvesting to grow crops, and growing food close to where it is consumed. It is known that leveraging resource synergies leads to energy reductions. However, it is not known how much the energy use of vertical farms can be reduced as a result of synergetic design, which is why the research is necessary. The integration of vertical farms within the built environment also enables new architectural typologies to be realised, which is also being explored as part of the research.

Stage of the project




Starting Up





Why was this project started?

Vertical farming has been gaining momentum for a number of years now. However, due to the need for artificial lighting, ventilation, and cooling, the energy requirements of the practice as still quite high. Over time, this energy use has decreased due to improvements in technology, but we believe that integrating vertical farms within the built environment will lead to further reductions.

The results of the project so far

The research programme is still in the early stages but first publications are starting to be submitted to journals. Once published, additional details on the results/findings of this research will be shared.

What are specific, distinctive, strong elements in this project?

Synergic design is a key aspect of the research project; i.e. the sharing of resources between the vertical farms and the built environment. This fits within a circular approach from an energy and resources perspective, which strives to minimise resource use by slowing the rate at which they are used and taking waste resources and using them as inputs to other systems.

Which specific lessons, do's and don'ts would you like to share? What would be suggestions for others when preparing or implementing the project in their own city?

Again, due to the early stage of the research project, these findings have not been determined at this stage. Once they are, this information will be updated.

Have others adopted, or shown interest in adopting, your idea in their own area?

Companies within the vertical farming industry are interested in the findings of this research, as it may lead to decreased energy use, which ultimately results in greater profits. It could also lead to innovations that greatly improve the sustainability of the industry, which could lead to increased investment in the future.

Can you tell us how valuable this project was for you?

You can rank your answers on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).

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1. How valuable was this information for you?
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2. Will you use this information in your own practice?
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3. Could this project be shared to - and implemented in - your own city?
No I won't
Yes I think so


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