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Sustainable greenhouse in extreme conditions

An ultramodern greenhouse

  • Client Little Leaf Farms
  • Area 1 – 5 – 8 – 2 hectare
  • Produce Leaf lettuce
  • Location Devens, MA, USA
  • Year(s) 2015 - 2016 - 2018 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022
“All our 40 acres have been with VB, from the beginning, we have worked well together.”
Paul Sellew, Little Leaf Farms

Request project

Little Leaf Farms has the ambition to become the largest supplier of leaf lettuce on the East Coast of the United States. To achieve this goal, it is extremely important to be able to grow and supply products in a sustainable way all year round. This is why they asked VB to build the most modern and innovative greenhouse in the world. A system that provides the least possible chance of disease, an optimal growing climate, and no need for human hands to be involved in the cultivation process.

Challenge and approach

Realizing an ultramodern greenhouse is a challenge that VB knows how to handle. The climate on the east coast was the biggest challenge: winters during which -25 C is no exception, and summers during which the mercury rises to +38 C. A considerable amount of energy is required to be able to cope with these extremes. The solution had to be more sustainable than transporting the lettuce by truck from the West Coast to the Boston area. With an advanced automatic cultivation system that systematically moves through the greenhouse, the sustainability challenge has been overcome. In collaboration with a team of specialists, as well as the customer, VB was able to take an in-depth look during the design process at what was needed to create an optimal growing climate inside the greenhouse.

Results and characteristics

VB has integrated a unique active cooling system, with which the inside of the greenhouse can not only be kept cool during the winter through the use of outside air, but also stays cool during the extremely hot summers. LED lighting helps compensate for the shortage of natural light during the winter. With the use of sun protection screens, excess sunlight is blocked during the summer. The result? The climate conditions can be optimized for the cultivation process, the growth process is accelerated, there is more control over the nutrition the plants receive, available cultivation space is used in the most efficient manner, and virtually nobody need to enter the greenhouse.