Vertical farms may be just around the corner, literally, if you live in the city. So you may wonder what building one would cost. That’s a tricky question, since there aren’t any comparable projects to consider when compiling an estimate. But engineers are taking the guesswork out of the estimation process by using existing construction costs for skyscrapers to produce a viable cost estimation.
The following is a basic cost estimation provided by the Columbia University think-tank that was involved in the conceptual creation of vertical farming:

  • Sub-structure and electro-chromic glass shell – $25,000,000
  • 1000 ton Geothermal HVAC – $2,500,000
  • 400 ton chiller + cooling tower – $500,000
  • Biogas to fuel cell cogeneration facility – $11,000,000
  • 800 kWh/day tracking photovoltaic array – $500,000
  • 4,500 kW water-cooled lighting system – $2,000,000
  • Energy infrastructure and automation systems – $35,000,000
  • Living machine-based water recycling system – $500,000
  • Floating garden hydroponic system – $1,700,000
  • Office and laboratory facilities – $5,000,000

Total Building Cost for vertical farming is around $83.7 million
Adding in the costs associated with annual operation and maintenance of a vertical farm, brings the total of this endeavor to over $100 million. While this may sound like an astronomical amount, it is could be worth the investment. Economists estimate that in about seven years, the profit in fresh produce alone could pay for the initial investment. In addition, the energy and water that a vertical farm would produce could not only sustain its own needs but also provide such important elements for others.

 

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While the concept of building farms inside skyscrapers might today sound like a far-fetched idea. In engineering, it equals to a building automation project that cost too much on the infrastructure at first and still not efficient compared to more distributed growing machine placed in our household. Today I still prefer the low tech solution, hopefully not long after we can see a high tech integrated house set up for the green vertical farming

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