Eco-glasshouse seeks funding

The Living Rainforest in Berkshire has launched an appeal for partners to help fund what is claimed to be the world's first zero-carbon rainforest glasshouse.

The Integrated Greenhouse project requires £600,000 towards its £3m total cost by April 2009.

The 2ha glasshouse, the third enclosure at the ecological attraction, aims to be a model for sustainable energy use. Living Rain- forest director and project leader Karl Hansen said: "Low-carbon design will alter irreversibly the way that glasshouses are built in future and point the way to a sustainable model of food production."

The project, resulting from a collaboration between the Thames Valley Energy Agency and Dutch research institute Wageningen UR, will store heat energy from the sun underground via vertical soil heat exchangers and use it to heat the glasshouse as needed.

The Living Rainforest will host a series of conferences on new environmental technologies in spring.

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