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PostPosted: Sep 5th, '13, 22:13 
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Found an interesting TED presentation on this blog: http://urbancatch.org/2013/08/12/aquaponics-org-uk-founder-on-aquaponics/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nIL9hWW ... r_embedded

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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '13, 03:41 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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I think that more urban aquaculture is great for educational and community enhancing reasons but proponents loose me when they start talking about producing significant amounts of food in an urban environment to replace rural agricultural production.

The problem is that land is so expensive in a urban environment.

Land that is not expensive tend to be only available in small parcels which fractures any operation that would use it and destroys economies of scale.

The solution is to put systems on top of buildings but buildings that are capable of supporting an extra floor of even light weight production systems are expensive. If the agricultural system is not paying for land because for example the factory below has already done that then it still has to pay for the additional floor on which it will be based. The cost of that floor to construct is going to vastly exceed the cost of even really expensive farm land.

So small systems that give urban people an experience and education about where there food comes from get a big tick. Large production systems will be priced out of the market.

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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '13, 13:38 
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Plus I'm still befuddled by the idea of growing tilapia in Scotland... The home of salmon and trout, wet, cold and blustery, and you want to heat water to grow tilapia? :?

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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '13, 13:57 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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The cafe looked cool especially liked the basil wall but such projects stand on their merits of fashion and education rather than production.

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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '13, 14:31 
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Stuart Chignell wrote:

The solution is to put systems on top of buildings but buildings that are capable of supporting an extra floor of even light weight production systems are expensive. If the agricultural system is not paying for land because for example the factory below has already done that then it still has to pay for the additional floor on which it will be based. The cost of that floor to construct is going to vastly exceed the cost of even really expensive farm land.


Not if they run NFT on the roof of the building/warehouse.


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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '13, 14:57 
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Yavimaya wrote:
Stuart Chignell wrote:

The solution is to put systems on top of buildings but buildings that are capable of supporting an extra floor of even light weight production systems are expensive. If the agricultural system is not paying for land because for example the factory below has already done that then it still has to pay for the additional floor on which it will be based. The cost of that floor to construct is going to vastly exceed the cost of even really expensive farm land.


Not if they run NFT on the roof of the building/warehouse.


No it still has to be paid for. It might not have to be as substantial as a car park level but a stucture will be needed. The requirements of that structure may be reduced by using a Moving Gully System but it will still be needed.

Modern factory/warehouse construction is pretty cheap because the systems are well engineered and use minimal excess material. A structure that is taller and carries additional loads is going to cost a significant amount of money.

That additional cost is going to be more than the cost of rural land, a lot more. Really expensive rural land is around $20K/ha or only $2/m2. Any increases to the building fabric are going to exceed that by a considerable factor and more than offset decreased transportation costs to get produce to market.

It may be possible if the presence of agriculture on the roof decreased the energy budget of the building below but such studies and conclusions for green roofs are still contested.

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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '13, 15:05 
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I wasnt thinking of any sort of height increase, simply retro fitting light weight sytems to the roofs of existing buildings (NFT/aeroponics only, FT at ground level).

Obviously you will never get "free rent", however there is no reason to build infrastucture for systems like this, the system is its own infrastucture and should be placed where it is cheapest and most effective.
If you are renting/building a whole building/level dedicated to this, then you are playing a fools game i think.

The idea is to find a non polluting industry that has a little room at ground level for your tanks, wants to split rent and is willing to have people walking on thier roof as compensation for free "cooling" during the summer. it can only be done as a mutually benefitial scheme in my opinion, but certainly possible.


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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '13, 15:37 
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I'd seen this TEDx talk a while ago.

If you - like the presenter proposes - make use of buildings that are otherwise not productive (e.g. disused office buildings) then I think that floor space need not be extremely expensive. Obviously, the weight of fish tanks etc will have to be taken into account. One could put the bulk of the tanks on a ground floor and then grow veg on the floor above, have chickens on the floor above that. Solar panels on the roof, rainwater catchment, whatever. It is not impossible. If it could be economically viable... not so sure.

Trout and salmon eat fish, tilapia eat a wide variety of food. So I can imagine that in the end tilapia could be a sustainable choice, even in a climate which does not seem to suit.

So far my own AP activities haven't been econimically viable, but that doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile. Perhaps that for a niche market of people who really would like local, fresh, sustainable food, this is a useful concept. It has my sympathy, anyhow.

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PostPosted: Sep 6th, '13, 18:12 
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I've learnt masses about engineering in the course of developing commercial designs.

When it comes to sustainability my motivations are as tree hugging hippy as the feral chaining themselves to a tree. The difference is I believe I have a better grasp on reality.

Adding even a relatively light weight structure like a NFT system is likely to compromise the integrity of an existing buildings structure. Small changes can seriously compromise a buildings strength. For example removing roof panels of tin and replacing with poly carbonate can significantly weaken a building. Commercial shed designs often specify spacing and width of poly carbonate sheet because if there are too many or they are too wide the buildings resistance to wind loads is compromised.

The same commercial realities that drive production in a rural environment are going to apply to urban environments as well. Which is why scale is always going to be important. If anything some of those factors are going to be even stronger in urban environments. In most climates production outside is not as cost effective as production inside a climate controlled greenhouse. Any greenhouse structure on top of a building is going to have a serious effect on the cost of installation.

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