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JOANNEUM RESEARCH LIFE receives Energy Globe Styria Award

The prize was awarded for the project Smart City Rooftop Farming for combining nature based solutions with the production of food on urban rooftop.

Foto der Rooftop-Mitarbeitenden im Dachgarten.

Smart City Rooftop Farming is an urban farming project on the rooftop of the Science Tower in Graz, showing how to grow food in a sustainable way in urban spaces. The project pursues the goal to produce food, cool the temperature of the city , provide electricity and to counteract surface sealing on the ground. The Science Tower is the first building in Austria, where the combination of these four functions is realized.

The Energy Globe World Award for Sustainability is today the world’s most important environmental award with over 180 participating countries. The award is presented every year at regional, national and global level. This year the Smart City Rooftop Farming Project received the regional Energy Globe Styria Award 2020 in the category “research”.

The Rooftop Garden grows fruits and vegetables on the 13th floor, 60 m above the ground, in the middle of Graz. It provides regional, seasonal and organic food in the heart of the city center. JOANNEUM RESEARCH brings farming back to urban spaces and combines modern technology with agricultural knowledge. Not only contributes the garden to cooling down the temperature of the city, thanks to the transparent Grätzel cells the tower also produces energy by transforming sunlight into electricity.

LIFE – the Institute for Climate, Energy and Society at JOANNEUM RESEARCH works in the research of nature based solutions for cities and puts its findings directly into practice. The Smart City Rooftop Farming Project also aims to raise awareness about where our food comes from and is a best practice example for sustainable food production on urban roof surfaces as an integrative solution approach for cities to adapt to climate change. To harvest salads, tomatoes, cucumbers etc. on the rooftop is now a reality for employees working in the Science Tower. Cooperations with various stakeholders from the fields of business, education and agriculture extent the impact. Among others LIFE works together with a local restaurant and a youth employment project to raise further awareness for Rooftop Farming.

This best practice example aims to inspire future solutions for cities and shows how farming on rooftops can work.


Further information on the project



Dr Franz Prettenthaler, M.Litt
Director LIFE
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