Environmental analysis of the logistics of agricultural products from roof top greenhouses in mediterranean urban areas

Esther Sanyé-Mengual, Ileana Cerón-Palma, Jordi Oliver-Solá, Juan Ianacio Montero, Joan Rieradevall

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69 Citations (Scopus)


Background: As urban populations increase so does the amount of food transported to cities worldwide, and innovative agro-urban systems are being developed to integrate agricultural production intobuildings; for example, by using roof top greenhouses (RTGs). This paper aims to quantify and compare, through a life cycle assessment, the environmental impact of the current linear supply system with a RTG system by using a case study for the production of tomatoes. Results: The main results indicatethat a change from the current linear system to the RTG system could result in a reduction, per kilogram of tomatoes (the functional unit), in the range of 44.4-75.5% for the different impact categoriesanalysed, and savings of up to 73.5% in energy requirements. These savings are associated with re-utilisation of packaging systems (55.4-85.2%), minimisation of transport requirements (7.6-15.6%) and reduction of the loss of product during transportation and retail stages (7.3-37%). Conclusions: The RTG may become a strategic factor in the design of low-carbon cities in Mediterranean areas. Short-term implementation in the city of Barcelona could result in savings of 66.1 tonnes of CO2 eq. ha-1 when considering the global warming potential, and of 71.03 t ha-1 whenconsidering that the transformation fromwoodland to agricultural land is avoided. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-109
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Agrifood sector
  • Agro-urban systems
  • LCA
  • Roof-top greenhouse
  • Transport


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