Dutch-UAE JV to build 'world’s largest indoor farm' in UAE
A joint venture between GrowGroup IFS from Barendrecht in the Netherlands, and RainMakers Capital Investment LLC from Abu Dhabi in the UAE, says that it will build the world’s largest indoor farm in Abu Dhabi.
In a statement, the joint venture says that the GreenFactory Emirates will produce 10,000 tons of fresh produce per year, on a plot that is 17.5 hectares in size, with a cultivation area of 160,000sqm. The total project value amounts to £137.7 million and is planned across different phases over three years.
Phase One will be operational before Expo 2020 Dubai in October 2021, so that GreenFactory Emirates can showcase the world its innovations. The project aims to be a kick-off for similar projects and innovations in other regions of the world where extreme climates are a challenge to normal cultivation.
Utilising the world’s most advanced indoor growing systems from The Netherlands, GreenFactory Emirates will combine vertical and flat farming methods to solve the normal cultivation restrictions that come with the extreme climates in countries such as the UAE. It will include a built-in research and development component that will help ramp up production beyond the 56 current varieties of lettuces, leafy greens, herbs and kale.
It will also optimise its production through the collection of real-time data to inform future global expansion of indoor farming. As such, the facility will also involve a number of leading agro-technological companies during the construction process, the statement adds, as the best of breed for each component will be sourced through top-tier Dutch companies.
GreenFactory Emirates has confirmed partnerships with GAAS Wageningen and Delphy in The Netherlands, which will allow it to benefit from live feedback provided by some of the best students and academia in the field.
Furthermore, the joint venture says that GreenFactory Emirates will save 95 percent of its water consumption, as opposed to standard methods of cultivation. Its CO2 footprint will also be reduced by up to 40 percent.
By growing fresh produce locally, GreenFactory Emirates will also contribute to reducing waste in various other areas. It’s contribution to slowly reducing the reliance on fresh food imports will in turn reduce waste of produce occurring during the transportation processes, while also reducing logistics traffic.
Food security is high on the UAE’s agenda and boosting local production and creating an enabling environment for agri-tech is a top priority for the government.
Research reveals 164% rise in searches for loft conversions
Market research conducted by building supply specialist Insulation4Less has revealed that searches for ‘Loft Conversions’ rose by a staggering 164% between May and June of this year, while searches for ‘Loft Conversion Ideas’ jumped by 186% as people spend more time on home renovations this summer.
The company also found that the most popular use for a loft conversion is for an additional bedroom, while an extra bathroom was the second-highest search term. Walk-in wardrobes came in third, beating out a home office in fourth while converting a loft into a home cinema round off the top five.
According to a recent study, a loft conversion can add roughly 20% to the value of a property. With the average UK house price standing at £267,000 in January 2021, this represents an average increase in value of more than £53,400.
Johnpaul Manning, Managing Director of Insulation4Less, said: “If the last year has taught us anything, it's that having space is essential to our mental health and wellbeing, so it's no surprise that people are taking the time to focus on home improvements to help them make the most of their home.
As one of the most under-utilised areas in any property, loft conversions represent a great opportunity to maximise the use of space that not only improves quality of life but also has the capacity to add value to the home”, he said.
Manning added that it's important to remember that a loft conversion isn't just your average DIY project, and should never be done on the spur of the moment. “A significant amount of planning needs to happen to make it a reality, and an understanding that life can be disrupted while the build is taking place.
“While it's definitely a worthwhile project, I'd recommend that anyone considering a loft conversion should do some in-depth research to really understand what's needed to make it a reality”, Manning said.
Is Your Loft Suitable For a Conversion?
While loft conversions do look amazing and add an extra element to a property, not all homes may be suitable. Insulation4Less says that this is due to a variety of factors.
“It's important to make sure that your roof is structurally sound enough to handle a conversion”, the company said. Although there are different types of roof structures, they mostly fall into two distinct categories: a traditional roof, and a trussed roof.
A traditional roof: was typically found in pre-1960s houses. Rafters on traditional roofs run along its edges, leaving a good amount of free space. However, they might still need new or extra support. Trussed roofs, on the other hand, have ‘W’ shaped rafters that support the roof and the floor structure. Even though truss roofs may appear to be harder to convert, it’s not impossible; the ‘W’ shaped rafters can be replaced with an ‘A’ shape structure which creates a hollow space. While this can add additional costs, it could be a worthy investment, so take this into consideration during your planning process.
“Another thing to consider is the roof's height and pitch, and how that will impact the amount of space you’ll have. You’ll need a minimum height of 2.2m to ensure proper clearance. While you might be happy to settle for something a little shorter on paper, make sure your happy with the height you have and the effect it could have on the enjoyment of the space”, Insulation4Less advises.
The company recommends doing research before going to an architect or contractor. “Ultimately, look for other conversions on your street or in similar properties, and if you feel comfortable, ask if you can have a look and discuss how their project came together - you’ll find a wealth of information that could really help your own project in the future”.
Information credit: Insulation4Less.