Paper Conference

Proceedings of Building Simulation 2017: 15th Conference of IBPSA


Building-Integrated Agriculture (BIA) in Urban Contexts: Testing a Simulation-Based Decision Support Workflow

Khadija Benis1, Christoph Reinhart2, Paulo Ferrão1
1IN+ Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy Research, IST, Lisbon, Portugal
2 Building Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA Corresponding author e-mail

Abstract: Building-Integrated Agriculture (BIA) in urban areas is claimed to be environmentally sustainable vis-à-vis conventional commercial agriculture practices by reducing food miles, minimizing land and water use and improving yields. However, as it is operated in controlled indoor environments, BIA can be highly energyintensive. In order to better understand the influence of local foodshed characteristics, climate conditions and farm properties on the environmental performance of BIA systems, this article applies a performance-based parametric simulation workflow for BIA that incorporates daylight, energy, crop growth and water models, to (a) Rooftop Greenhouse (RG) farms and (b) Shipping Container (SC) farms located in the cities of Lisbon, Singapore, Paris and New York. Results show that – while RG farms can significantly reduce GHG emissions under all the tested climates – SC farms may only have a positive overall environmental impact in megacities located in colder climates, that seasonally rely on long distance food imports.
Pages: 1798 - 1807