Urban Greenhouse: Implementing Natural Systems to Power Circular Energy Flows

Presenter: Julia Barksdale

Research Category: Humanities and Arts
College: College of Arts Media & Design
Major(s): Architecture
Graduation Date: 2021

This project is in progress as a final submission for my fifth year undergraduate studio, ARCH 5120: Comprehensive Design Studio under the professorship of Abigail Ransmeier. This class aims to challenge students to consider the integration of aesthetic and systematic design of building; aka how the building looks versus how it functions. On top of this integration, we are challenged to explore sustainable efforts.

My project challenges the traditional flow of energy, which typically represents itself as a linear flow of acquisition, usage, and exhaust of waste. My project challenges this linear progression by capturing the typical waste and cycling it into a circular flow, meaning that in theory, no waste is produced, and no acquisition source is needed. It does this by directing the interior exhaust air that is usually dispensed outside of the building into the upper greenhouse space via induced stack effect to help maintain the optimal warm greenhouse environment. Along with the recycling of air, this project also incorporates a gutter system that feeds into a water tank connected to a drip irrigation system that provides stormwater management on site, as well as moisture for the vegetation of the greenhouse. The south-facing glazing of my roof consists of Soliculture PV panels, which filter light for greenhouse growth while also capturing UV rays for a local source of electricity. Therefore, the typical waste of this architectural project becomes the source of electricity that feeds back into the system, starting this cycle of energy over again.