Vertical landscaping is showing there is a trend to biophilic design both out and inside of buildings. Biophilic design was an idea that has now been proven to be very beneficial for people. We may not all have green thumbs, but we are all green at heart. And, green is a good thing for the office environment.
The Benefits of Indoor Greenery
According to Carey J. Fitzgerald and Kimberly M. Danner, “utilizing images of greenery… may be able to combat the stress experienced from urban settings.” That’s just imagery. Their paper goes on to show that having actual plants in an office is even better. They state there are chemical benefits as well as the psychological ones.
Plants are natural air purifiers. Clean air enhanced our well being, making us both more relaxed (stress free) and more productive. This leads to employees that are less likely to feel as though they have symptoms of illnesses, decreasing sick days.
More than this, having “green” walls are also better for the buildings. Replacing paint or wallpaper with plants provides buildings with both thermal insulation and greater acoustical control.
The reduction in temperatures helps with the longevity of buildings. There is less expansion and contraction and thus less cracking, fractures. This means less over all general ware and tare on the buildings.
Plants also act as a natural sound proofing system to reduce noise. This, in turn, helps with greater consideration for accomplishing tasks.
All of this leads to greater productivity. Greater productivity can lead to greater profits. And, this green design can benefit students in a school just as much as employees in the work force.
Indoor plants face unique challenges compared to their exterior counterparts, however. Indoor plants do not have to contend with wind, snow, salt, or smog. Yet they also don’t get the benefits of cleansing rains that flush accumulated chemicals through the soil and away from their roots.
Even the soil itself can be a problem because there isn’t very much of it. And, what there is typically is fast-draining and devoid of natural organic material. Even the air indoors tends to be drier than outside. This causes the plants to dry out more quickly.
Indoor plants need is a regular and adequate source of water. Hand watering or in-pot reservoirs are options, but very often get forgotten.
A better choice is a traditional automatic irrigation system complete with a timer. This way plants receive a precise, controlled amount of water on a regular basis.
Irrigation systems can be hidden in the supporting structure of green walls and planters or even below large pots. Coupled with a fertilizer injector, they can deliver optimal amounts of nutrient-rich water effortlessly. This virtually eliminates human error and neglect.
Does the building’s exterior landscape have irrigation? If yes, it may be possible to connect the interior plantings to the same water supply. It might be possible to even the same controller.
Most controllers have the capability to accept multiple programs. Theoretically, one program could be assigned to the exterior system and another to the interior. Sometimes it’s a good idea to completely separate the two. The interior system would likely be used year-round.
The volume of water required is usually very small. Thus, interior irrigation systems can use almost any available water supply. This, in combination with smaller distribution pipes and low-volume irrigation such as bubblers or drip, helps to keep installation costs low. It’s a small price to pay for healthy indoor plants and all the benefits they bring with them.
While currently this may be seen as a bold new look, it may very well be the future of business. As more companies move to biophilic designed buildings, showing an increase in profitability, vertical landscaping will continue to grow as a trend. This will be not just for the ascetics, but also for better health and performance.
It appears that a green future is now on the horizon.