Situated in the grounds of the Royal Castle of Laeken in Brussels, this enormous complex of greenhouses covers 270,000 square feet. Commissioned by King Leopold II of Belgium, it was built between 1874 and 1895 and includes the Iron Church, a domed greenhouse which served as the Royal Chapel. A whopping 800,000 litres of heating oil are required annually to keep the greenhouse heated. The public are allowed entry once a year, in the spring, for nearly three weeks when the flowers are in bloom.
- Eden Project
The Eden Project is a massive Biosphere in Cornwall in Southwest England, and since it first opened in 2001 has attracted over 6 million visitors. The biomes were created to house around 1 million plants in several different climates so that both botanists and the general population would be able to study plant biodiversity on a large scale and have a better understanding of sustainable development.
Constructed out of hundreds of hexagonal plastic panels set within steel tubular frames, the greenhouse structure is completely self-supporting, so no use of pillars or internal supports. This has earned it an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘world’s largest free-standing scaffold structure’.
Among the technological advances is their rainwater collection system which accounts for 43 percent of the water used on site.
- Sliding House
Coming up with a unique greenhouse design isn’t always easy; many of them look much like any other, but not this one. The Sliding House operates on a sliding mechanism using rails set into the ground, the main house, guest annexe and greenhouse can be covered by a 28 meter long covering that weighs 50 tons. The unconventional design allows for ever-changing views, lighting conditions and a sense of having the outside within.
- Sahara Forest Project
In cold countries, greenhouses are used to create artificially warmer environments to help plants grow, yet the opposite problem exists in desert environments. In hot countries, where the climate is too hot for most things to grow, a colder climate to cultivate plant life is needed.
A landmark scheme is underway in the Sahara where seawater is used to cool and humidify the air in the greenhouse while at the same time the sunlight distills the fresh water from the seawater. Combined with solar panels to produce energy, there is a system where much food can be grown and desalinated drinking water is provided all in one location.
In Holland, greenhouses receive more solar heat energy than they need to grow their crops, so the excess heat is usually released through open windows. What if you could capture that heat energy and use it to provide energy for a small community? This is what Dutch company Zonneterp is looking at: creating a community which provides its own energy, biomass and water supply.
As heat builds up in the greenhouse, it is trapped and stored in deep aquifers. This is then used to heat the greenhouse in the evenings and during cold spells, but there is still surplus heat left, enough to heat a small collection of houses. The condensed vapour in the greenhouses is trapped, and as it’s quite pure, is used as household tap water. The Zonneterp model really does suggest a possible future of far more self-sufficient communities.
- Thanet Earth
With enough glass to cover 80 football pitches, Thanet Earth is Britain’s largest greenhouse and is located on the Isle of Thanet, Kent. Using Hydroponic technology, the 220 acre site is expected to cost £80 million to complete. Eventually it will grow a staggering 1.3 million tomato, pepper and cucumber plants and will produce around 2.5 million tomatoes weekly! That’s a whole lot of salsa.
Want to set up a small green-house in your backyard ? Maybe a green-house on your terrace ? Get in touch with landscaping services from GreenMyLife.