A Living Air Filter: Biowall
A Living Air Filter
I came across a picture of a biowall air filter on the Queen's University,Faculty of Applied Science, Integrated Learning Centre . They have created a three story wall in the lobby area that is literally a vertical garden! Rather than sculpture or paintings, they have created a dual purpose living art form that is both aesthetically and scientifically beautiful.
The biowall, as it is called, is a natural air filter, due to the large amounts of living plants growing in it. As the air moves through the wall and into the building's office areas the impurities are removed during the photosynthesis process of the plants.
The plants create both beauty and a natural air filter and humidifier in the building where they are living. This creates a unique indoor ecosystem that works.
Types of Plants Used
The wall was created by attaching two layers of one inch thick, loosely woven plastic material attached to a concrete wall for stability. Plants are then planted in slits in the first layer of the material. As the roots grown downward between the layers of material the plants are firmly held in place. Recirculating water is pumped down the wall, between the layers, with nutrients added as needed. Fans pull the air through the wall and circulate it throughout the building.
Some of the plants that make up this amazing air filter are:
3. Dragon Plant
and others. All the plants used are plants that do not produce pollen to cut down on natural allergens.
Words To Know
CO2- Carbon dioxide, the gas that we breathe out and that plants breathe in. In turn they breathe out oxygen and we breathe IT in.
VOCs- Volatile Organic Compounds. Poisonous gasses that are released from nearly every man made thing from cabinets to carpets.
Photosynthesis- The process by which plants use light to make sugar and oxygen, which the plant needs to survive.
Transpiration- the evaporation of water from the leaves of plants.
Leeds Certification- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a system of evaluating a building or a company 's environemntal performance on a points scale.
Other Buildings Use This Technology
This is not the only biowall, however. The Robertson Building in Toronto Canada has a similar wall in it's main lobby. It, like the ILC Biowall, also acts as an air purifier for the lobby of the building. The plants are a combination of native plants and others chosen for their adaptability to low light levels, and their ability to clean pollutants in the air.
There are many more places beginning to use this technology in their desire for Leeds Certification, and unique answers to old problems. The biowall not only purifies the air, but because of the transpiration of the plants it cools the air in the summer and helps keep it humidified in the winter.
Planting a biowall gives a building the ambiance of an atrium in a much smaller space. Plants are relaxing to be around. They are beautiful to look at. With the added benefit of being able to clear a building of VOCs and CO2 build-up you have an almost perfect artform.
Keep an eye on this technology. It will be interesting to see what forms it takes in the net five to ten years.