Wave Storage, a self-storage operator serving the Loft District in downtown St. Louis, is earning nearly $10,000 per year by leasing its 9,000-square-foot rooftop space to Urban Harvest, a nonprofit community-garden program. Urban Harvest paid to have a new roof placed on the storage building before launching the Food Roof Farm this summer. In addition to rent revenue, the urban farm will also provide Wave with savings on utility costs because of the added insulation, according to the source.
The farm is expected to keep the 17,000-square-foot building cooler in the summer and warmer during winter, generating utility savings of up to 30 percent during the summer months and as much as 40 percent in the winter, the source reported.
Additional environmental benefits include a reduction in the building’s heat-island effect and storm water run-off, while increasing biodiversity and clean air, according to Mary Ostafi, director of Urban Harvest. “Doing something good for the community and leveraging the market value of that for their business is another reason for building owners to get excited about putting rooftop farms on their buildings,” Ostafi told the source.
The Food Roof Farm offers soil farming as well as raised beds for a community garden. It also includes container gardening, a greenhouse and hydroponic towers. “Part of our purpose is to use this as a pilot and demonstration project, and to learn from it and put together best practices so that we can scale up to be most efficient,” Ostafi said.
The idea for the rooftop farm emerged when Wave owner Beau Reinberg was helping water his wife’s rented plot at Urban Harvest and met Ostafi and her husband, Joe. “They mentioned that they were happy to have the community garden going, but their ultimate goal was to establish a rooftop farm as a pilot to show the benefits of rooftop and urban agriculture and how it can work well in cities,” Reinberg told the source.
When the couple mentioned they were having trouble finding available land for a long-term lease, Reinberg asked if his two-story self-storage building would be suitable. The resulting project has created positive publicity for the self-storage business and increased customer traffic, he told the source.
Wave Storage, at 1335 Convention Plaza Drive, offers 250 climate-controlled self-storage units on three levels, including the basement.
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