Unigro completes innovative research facility
It may look like your average garden shed from the front, but the dull green exterior of the new Field Research Facility at RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Wisley masks a plethora of complex technological design features. Located in Surrey, UK, the modestly-sized complex will provide a base for detailed research into disease and pests in garden plants and has been specifically engineered to optimise conditions for this delicate research.
The unit has been designed by market leaders in controlled environmental technologies, Unigro, and what it lacks in aesthetic appeal it makes up for in high-end technology. Each of the research chambers can be independently managed in terms of its climate parameters in line with the varied experiments of the RHS, corridors are pressurised to provide secondary containment, and additional lighting technology in the research chambers extends the amount of ‘daylight’ for experimentation.
Extra features include a coolth tank built into the foundations to offer a back-up of energy in case mechanical failures occur, saving the results of any ongoing experiments, a pressurised lobby areas to reduce the potential for airborne plant pests and pathogens to enter the laboratory units, and a building management systems which controls mechanical operations and records potentially useful data about the centre.
Managing Director at Unigro, Keith Hamp, explains: “We’re delighted to have been involved in this project, providing a facility which is first of its kind, using innovative technology, designed to further the understanding of plant pests and diseases in the UK. The team has worked to high calibre specifications, designing a state-of-the-art resource for the team at RHA Wisley.” Funding for the new facility was sourced through public donations to the RHS.