Where to supermarket herbs come from…
Most supermarkets buy their herbs from abroad and ship them over to the UK to then be sold on to individuals. This uses a huge amount of energy and increases the carbon footprint of the herbs that you buy. The GrowStations aim is to bring attention to the carbon footprint of the products that are used everyday in the kitchen.
Fresh Packed Bunch Coriander 30g – 70p
Country of Origin:
Packed in Cyprus, Ethiopia, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Morocco, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom
Sainsbury’s Fresh Living Basil Pot – 1.25
Country of Origin:
Packed in Cyprus, Ethiopia, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Morocco, Portugal, South Africa, Spain.
I used a carbon footprint calculator to work out on average how much CO2 is produced by a single pot of basil being transported from Ethiopia to the UK by Plane.
I then worked out what the cost of transporting that to a Bristol based supermarket was for a 120 mile Journey in a 3.5 tonne van;
In Total, from door to door a single basil plants Carbon footprint is roughly 2.43 metric tons of CO2e.
In order to work out the benefits of using the Grow Station I’ve calculated the amount of energy used in terms of electricity based on the time it takes for a basil plant to grow from a cutting to a full plant.
“Basil seeds take between eight and 14 days to germinate and emerge from the soil. After germination, look for the first set of true leaves two to three weeks later. Then, two to three weeks after the first set of true leaves emerge, basil plants should be about 6 inches tall, once grown to this point your basil plant will continue to sprout leave continuously if you give it enough water, light and the right temperature”
The calculation below shows the amount of energy used by the Grow Station over 24 Hours , and is broken down into the costs to run it for a week, month and year.
It would cost the user $1.44 to grow up to 8 separate basil plants, where as it would cost $1.25 to buy a plant from Sainsbury’s. The carbon footprint of the Grow Station is shown below.
One thing to factor into this calculation is that plants absorb roughly 25% of the CO2 that we as humans produce, therefore it is possible that the Grow Station could be considered carbon neutral.
There is a huge amount of research out there on the effects of smart home devices , specifically smart meters, that suggests that there is an effect on the way that people behave based on the information that they are given by the meters. According to a study by the Department of Energy & Climate change shows that people are much more receptive to the effects of energy usage when it is make clear how it effects their wallets. By using this research and adapting it to the idea of growing your own food/herbs people should be much more receptive to the idea of changing their habits.
Other examples of this can be seen in product such as the FitBit, which get peoples attention and help them make a change by giving specific quantitative feedback, This is being applied to The Grow Station by showing the user the amount that they are saving cost wise by using the product.