Founders: Phillip Lee & Thomas Smith
Warwick-based Ripe Building Services (RIPE) is creating new greenhouse technology that enables growers to increase output by capitalising on full-spectrum natural daylight.
RIPE was founded by Phillip Lee and Thomas Smith in 2017. With a PhD in Advanced Greenhouse System Design, Lee was determined to replace outdated glass design to create better growing environments while having sustainability at the forefront.
The business has created an advanced greenhouse structure replacing outdated glass design with a patented nano surface treated ETFE glazing material. It utilises lightweight, specially designed aluminium frames with patented ground anchors that eliminates the need for concrete foundations.
ETFE is a fluorine-based plastic related to Teflon. At the end of its lifespan, which is typically more than 50 years, it can be melted and re-blown as exactly the same material. It requires minimal energy for transportation and installation; which means that it makes a significant contribution to the movement towards more sustainable greenhouse constructions.
RIPE’s greenhouse structure offers growers and farmers better light transmission, increased yields, and greater plant health compared to traditional glass greenhouses – bringing sustainable improvements to food production by enhancing growth and harvest. RIPE recently secured a £250k investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) West Midlands Equity Fund, managed by Midven.
The MEIF funding will enable RIPE to begin its sales and marketing activities, where the company will demonstrate the greenhouse system in full action at the UK Natural Light Growing Centre at the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne Campus. This will give growers an opportunity to get a better understanding of how changing greenhouse systems can improve their overall crop performance.