LEAP Architecture worked closely with Capital Roots staff to design 3 NET-Zero greenhouses as part of their Urban Grow Project. Located in Troy, NY, these greenhouses are part of a larger effort to create and teach sustainable urban agriculture and provide fresh food for residents in what is otherwise a food desert. 


Capital Roots Net-Zero Greenhouses

NET-Zero Greenhouses

For those not familiar with the term NET-Zero, it refers to buildings designed to produce as much energy as they consume in 1 year. Making as much energy as you use is a big deal, especially in the context of greenhouses, which are notorious energy hogs. Picture it being humid and 70 inside, while winter in the Northeast rages below freezing, balanced against all that glass needed to let light in. Needless to say, we are all very excited about the emphasis on sustainability in this program.

Of the three new greenhouses, 2 will be hydroponic and 1 will be traditional. Hydroponic is a soil-less growing method, that uses only 10% water compared to soil agriculture. It is able to do that because of its efficient recirculated system. Hydroponic plants get the sufficient water while the run-off ones are captured and get back to the system.


Two hydroponic greenhouses  will:

  • Provide year round food production
  • Support adult job readiness program (based on Produce Project Youth Model)


Third traditional greenhouse will:

  • Support community education
  • Grow plants for program sales
  • Grow plants for region’s green spaces


Outdoor teaching spaces will be located around the greenhouses, as well as support buildings and water catchment landscaping. These have all been designed to fit with the aesthetic of the neighborhood. The greenhouses will be located at the corner of Jay Street and 5th Avenue in Troy, NY.

These NET-Zero Greenhouses are part of Capital Roots larger project including a commercial-grade kitchen and a second distribution warehouse.  The warehouse is a secure area where staff can sort and pack produce from local farms to be sold in school cafeterias. LEAP was also responsible for the design of these, which you can see here.

Read more in the Albany Business Journal Press Release.

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