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The Living Wall


Canadians spend more than 80% of their time indoors, hence indoor air quality has a significant affect on overall health. Indoor air can have over 200 different airborne gaseous pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde, which have serious health effects. Environment Canada and the US. Environmental Protection Agency have indicated that pollutants can have indoor concentrations over twice that seen in outdoor air.


The LIVING WALL is a new technology that integrates a living biological system into the building air handling system to remove airborne pollutants and deliver cleaner air to the building occupants. The LIVING WALL utilizes the ability of biological systems to degrade pollutants. The LIVING WALL contributes to a healthier indoor space by reducing stress levels and creating a more aesthetically pleasing environment by reducing the threat of airborne pollutants.


The WALL is two sided, each side measuring 5 m wide by 3 m high for a total surface area of approximately 30 sq.m. The system draws air from the lobby. The cleaned air then is distributed by fans within the wall.


Traditionally, air quality systems in buildings replace used, “dirty” indoor air with new outside air. In the summer, this new air must be cooled and in the winter it must be heated before being distributed. This conditioning of the new air represents a substantial portion of the energy costs of the building. The LIVING WALL can lower energy use of the building by reducing the need to bring new air into the space.


The wall consists of synthetic media, covering a perforated structure called a “plenum” that supports and regulates airflow through the LIVING WALL. A circulating nutrient solution feeds the plants. The LIVING WALL connects to the building’s air handling system that draws “dirty” air over the root zone of the plants. At the same time, plant leaves utilize. A diverse selection of tropical ferns, foliage and flowering plants are planted hydroponically (without soil) into the synthetic media. carbon dioxide (CO ) in the air for photosynthesis and release oxygen (O ) back into the building. The root zone of the plants becomes home for beneficial microorganisms. The microorganisms use airborne pollutants as food, and break them down into water and carbon dioxide.

An artist’s representation of a LIVING WALL(left). Air quality within the space is maintained by drawing polluted air through the wet plant covered surface. The cleaned air is then returned to the room. Plants facilitate the breakdown of pollutants (right).

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