As the world’s collective environmental consciousness deepens, the need to include sustainable practices in different aspects of our lives becomes even more apparent. This is particularly evident in how we design and manage commercial and office spaces. The pursuit of sustainability in these environments transcends mere energy efficiency; it involves a comprehensive approach that takes into account the environmental, social, and economic effects of all choices.
In this dynamic landscape, one emerging trend is taking root, quite literally: hydroponics. This innovative approach to sustainability in office spaces goes beyond eco-friendly architecture and efficient systems. Hydroponics allows for cultivating plants without soil, serving both aesthetic and biophilic purposes while contributing to enhanced air quality for a greener and healthier working environment.
Let’s dive deep on how hydroponic systems pave way to sustainability in commercial spaces and its profound impact into the corporate ecosystem.
The Basics of Hydroponics
A hydroponic system consists of several components, including:
- Net pots
- Growing media
- Nutrient solution
- Air stones
- Air pumps
- Water tank
- pH testing paper
These components all contribute to efficient crop production. The system allows plants to grow in a nutrient-rich water environment, providing them with the perfect conditions to thrive.
The choice of plants for a hydroponic system should be based on considerations around light, heat, and nutrient composition for optimal growth. Regular cleanliness maintenance and pH level monitoring of the nutrient solution are key to preserving the health of your hydroponic crops.
Hydroponic plants can grow 30 to 50 percent faster than those grown in soil, thanks to the direct access to nutrients and optimal growing conditions.
In the Philippines, real estate developers is starting integrate hydroponic farms into their spaces; converting rooftops and roof decks into a ‘sky farm,’ a place where plant growth is sustained through urban farming technology.
Advantages of Hydroponic Farming
The rising popularity of hydroponic farming is attributed to its numerous benefits over soil-based farming, including:
Natural Food Source
One of the main reasons why hydroponics is starting to become a hit in commercial real estate is that it can serve as a consistent and reliable source of natural food source for occupants. By cultivating plants in a controlled hydroponic environment, commercial spaces can ensure a year-round supply of fresh, nutritious produce. Aside from that, the proximity of hydroponic systems within commercial spaces also reduces transportation distances, lowering the carbon footprint associated with food distribution.
Faster Plant Growth
Due to direct nutrient delivery to the root system and controlled environmental conditions, hydroponic systems foster faster plant growth. The nutrients are delivered in a highly soluble form, allowing for efficient absorption, and plants don’t have to search for nutrients in the soil, which can slow down growth.
Research has shown that certain crops grown in hydroponic systems can mature up to 25% faster and yield up to 30% more than those grown in traditional soil farming.
Additionally, plants in hydroponic systems are more water-efficient, using less water than plants grown in soil.
Utilizing recirculating systems, hydroponic farming curtails overall water usage, thus conserving water compared to traditional agriculture. Hydroponic farms can reuse the same water repeatedly, making them much more water-wise. Methods such as capturing plant vapor, using recycled wastewater, and collecting rainwater contribute to the water-saving potential of hydroponic farming.
Water recirculation in hydroponic systems is achieved through different methods such as Nutrient Flow Technique, Ebb and Flow, or Deep Water Culture. The water is collected and pumped back into the system, allowing the plants to get the water, nutrients, and oxygen they need, ultimately conserving water and maximizing the efficiency of hydroponic systems.
Reduced Pesticide Use
The controlled environment and reduced pest pressure in hydroponic systems lessen the need for pesticides. The absence of soil in hydroponics helps reduce pest pressures by eliminating soil-borne pests and diseases, resulting in less reliance on chemical control methods.
Cutting down pesticide use in hydroponic systems has numerous environmental advantages, such as:
- Reducing air and soil pollution
- Saving water
- Cutting down on fossil fuel usage
- Protecting natural ecosystems
- Preventing water pollution
Healthier plants and a lower risk of pesticide contamination contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly food production system.
Bringing Hydroponics in the Comfort of Your Homes
As the concept of hydroponics continue to reshape the landscape of commercial space, do you know that you can also apply this innovative gardening technique at the comfort of your homes?
Setting up a hydroponic system in your home requires a few key components such as a nutrient reservoir, growing medium, air stones, and net pots. The nutrient reservoir is where the water solution with dissolved nutrients is stored, ensuring that the plants receive a steady supply of nutrients for healthy growth.
Air stones help aerate the nutrient solution, increasing dissolved oxygen levels around the roots for efficient nutrient uptake and overall plant health. Net pots are plastic or mesh cups with holes on the bottom, used to secure the plants and allow their roots to access water and nutrients directly. Two-inch net pots are commonly used for smaller leafy crops like lettuce.
What are the plants suitable for hydroponic farming?
Taking into that the Philippines is a tropical country, AgriFarming lists down some of the plants best suitable for hydroponic farming which include the following:
- Green beans
What are 3 disadvantages of hydroponics?
Hydroponic farming has some key disadvantages: the system is very complex and requires expert knowledge to set up; it also requires a reliable power source, making it inaccessible in many areas; finally, it can be quite expensive to install and maintain.
As the demand for sustainable food production continues to grow, commercial hydroponic farming offers an innovative solution to meet the needs of a growing population while minimizing the environmental impact of traditional farming methods.
Hydroponics offers an innovative and sustainable approach to agriculture, enabling faster plant growth, water conservation, and reduced pesticide use. With various types of systems available, choosing the right crops, and implementing proper maintenance, hydroponic farming has the potential to revolutionize the way we grow food. Whether you’re setting up a small home system or scaling up to commercial farming, hydroponics provides a promising solution for a greener and more sustainable future in food production.