Climate-smart greenhouses are making use of innovative solutions to adapt to changing conditions in cities as a consequence of climate change. They allow for food production in densely-populated urban areas with a minimal environmental footprint, using less resources (energy, water) and space than traditional greenhouses and adapting to changing conditions such as rising temperatures or risks of heavy rains.
Vertical planting platforms help to use space as efficiently as possible. Special design features allow for the reuse of water. Innovative drip irrigation systems, for example, can save up to 90% of water compared to conventional greenhouses and are especially suitable for vertical farming techniques.
Another innovative solution to reduce water usage is an aquaponics system which can feed a large vertical planting wall in a connected greenhouse. It combines fish and vegetable production in a closed-loop system. Fish excreta provides nutrients for the plants, and the plants filter the water for the fish to live in. The system is self-contained with minimal impacts on the surrounding environment. It can produce food with 10% of the land area and 5% of the water usage needed for conventional agricultural production.
Using innovative cover materials to construct greenhouses can be useful in the process of climate change adaptation and help with ventilation and shading. Aluminum-coated cloth-netting is a good example: It is breathable and helps to reflect sunlight, reducing the temperature in the greenhouse. Other materials are specifically designed to counteract the increasing risks of insect invasion.