Innovation That Matters

The system can provide substantial levels of shade in just months, rather than years | Photo source BioShade (Arch. Ben Girsch)

A modular hydroponic system for growing shade plants


An Israeli startup is developing an automated system for providing shade plants in urban areas

Spotted: As anyone who lives in an urban area knows, cities are hotter than the surrounding area. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the annual air temperature of a city with 1 million people can be 1.8–5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1–3 degrees Celsius) warmer than its surroundings. In addition, NASA’s Landsat satellite data has been used to demonstrate a correlation between dense vegetation and cool temperatures, and between sparse vegetation and high temperatures.

Early-stage startup BioShade is working to put this information into practical use. It has developed a technology that uses a solar-powered, water-saving, smart system to cultivate shade plants in urban areas. The system is fully automated, low-maintenance, and modular, so that it can be used to create various shaded microenvironments to suit different parts of any city.

The smart hydroponic system can be easily customised for any variety of plants and can interface with other shade elements. BioShade claims that plants grown using its system grow at twice the normal rate and with an 80 per cent saving in water when compared to soil irrigation. By eliminating most pests, the system results in higher plant survival rates.

The company also claims that its systems “create a shaded microclimate with a decrease of 11°C in physiological heat stress”. They add that, “by placing BioShade on rooftops, you can save up to 80 per cent of the top floor air cooling expenses.”

BioShade is still in the early phases of development. The company completed a seed round of funding last year, led by Cactus Capital and the project is currently in Beta testing.

BioShade joins a number of other startups working to bring more greenery into urban environments. Some other innovations Springwise has spotted include smart green walls designed to purify indoor air, and an urban reforestation project that aims to make cities more liveable.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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