Farnek to create extensive rooftop vertical garden at new Dubai staff accommodation centre
Leading UAE-based smart and green facilities management (FM) company Farnek has signed a contract with Dutch green-tech projects specialist developer Urban Ponics, to design and help create a 240sqm rooftop vertical garden at Farnek’s brand new staff accommodation centre in Dubai South – Farnek Village.
Dominating the rooftop garden will be a 200sqm ‘shade house’, a structure which provides a mix of shade and light to create suitable conditions for shade-loving plants. Urban Ponics will transport this in parts from Holland to Dubai and together with Farnek’s in-house engineering team, assemble the metal tube framework for the 3m high structure onsite. It will come complete with shade netting, grow pods, lava buckets, misters, pumps, water tanks, irrigation and drainage pipes.
Farnek decided to embrace this novel concept, not only to repurpose the bare concreted space on the Village roof but to grow fresh vegetables and other products for its 5,000 staff, living at the AED 200 million complexes.
“Farnek is an innovative sustainable company, and we are always trying to identify new ways of managing our business in a cost and energy-efficient manner. Farnek Village will soon be home to thousands of our employees, and we wanted to create a project that would be symbolic of our purpose and our values.
“Due to its sustainable design, space is at a premium in the Village, and this initiative makes perfect use of an aspect that is generally underutilised at best and completely ignored at worst,” said Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek.
The garden, which will be complete in mid-January 2021, will be used to produce over 3,000 leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, and spinach, as well as tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, capsicums and chillis. The first harvest should be ready in around six weeks from seeding and will be used in Farnek’s kitchens and promises to be cleaner, tastier and more nutritious, than ordinary salad plants.
“It is also more sustainable because we can then reduce the number of deliveries it normally takes to feed 5,000 hungry workers. Equally, diet and nutrition are an important part of the health and welfare policy for our employees,” added Oberlin.
The produce will be grown using sustainable methods applied by international experts, and local materials will be employed during the construction phase, as much as possible. The growing methods include the use vertical farming columns for a “mistponic” application, which is by far, the most sustainable soil-less growing technique, as it uses up to 90% less water than the most efficient conventional hydroponic and aquaponic systems.
Commenting further, Ryan Mitchell, Workers Welfare Manager at Farnek, said, “In addition to this, we intend