Developing an economic estimation system for vertical farms
Shao, Yiming and Heath, Timothy Peter and Zhu, Yan (2016) Developing an economic estimation system for vertical farms. International Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Information Systems . ISSN 1947-3206
The concept of vertical farming is nearly twenty years old, however, there are only a few experimental prototypes despite its many advantages compared to conventional agriculture. Significantly, financial uncertainty has been identified as the largest barrier to the realization of a ‘real’ vertical farm. Some specialists have provided ways to calculate costs and return on investment, however, most of them are superficial with calculations based on particular contextual circumstances. To move the concept forwards a reliable and flexible estimating tool, specific to this new building typology, is clearly required. A computational system, software named VFer, has therefore been developed by the authors to provide such a solution. This paper examines this highly flexible, customised system and results from several typical vertical farm configurations in three mega-cities (Shanghai, London and Washington DC) are used to elucidate the potential economic return of vertical farms.
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