First year PhD students Melanie Jans Singh and Mark Allen as well as MRes student André Neto-Bradley are part of team Plant It Green shortlisted on the Carbon Challenge Award. The challenge is part of an initiative to support the university to achieve its commitment to become carbon neutral from energy use by 2050 by inviting innovative ideas from students and staff.
The team's vision to secure the £50,000 award is to integrate hydroponics into the new Dyson Building on the Engineering site to reduce Building Energy Use and associated carbon emissions.
Securing an initial grant of £700 from the university Estates department, they set about recycling wooden pallets into modular units capable of supporting a hydroponics plant system. They also utilised space on the rooftop to build a greenhouse for seedling growing space and will be collecting data on how different plants affect air quality characteristics in office spaces.
The plan is to install more of these hydroponics modules across each office floor, using them to grow vegetables and herbs, while simultaneously improving air quality and reducing the need to ventilate the space. This could save on energy and heat required for ventilation by up to 35% and potentially reduce the Dyson Building's CO2 emissions by 74 tonnes. Melanie, a passionate urban farmer, also hopes to create a community of plant growers.
Go Team Plant It Green!