by leeza mckeown & alan burchell living green wall
april 10 2017

The hot trend of installing living walls (aka: vertical gardens, green walls, plant walls, or live walls) in our homes, offices, schools and restaurants is sweeping like wildfire across cities the world over, and at the outset, it’s pretty easy to see why: they are utterly stunning!  Just take a look at a few here in our hometown of NYC:

living_green_wall_in_Mamasushi

Mamasushi, New York City

 

Living Green Wall in Soho, New York City

Hogar Dulce Hogar Bakery (Mr Tod’s Pie Factory), Soho, New York City

 

Living Green Wall at Columbia University, New York City

Columbia University, New York City

But, did you know that these green installations not only look great, but also have massive health and wellness benefits?

1) Improve our physical health

Especially for those of us that live in cities, we breathe a ton of air pollutants, often without even realizing it. The good news for those that have living walls is the plants growing on these walls act as natural air filters. They clean the air that we breathe on a daily basis by absorbing pollutants like formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and other airborne toxins. The result? Better respiratory and cardiovascular health. Further, even brief exposure to nature during the day has been shown to lower people’s heart rate and systolic blood pressure.  Not bad!

Rutgers College Living Wall

New Jersey Institute for Food Nutrition & Health at Rutgers College: New Brunswick, NJ

2) Make us more comfortable

You know those summer days when you just can’t keep your home cool? How about the winter nights when you can’t just keep it warm? What is great about green walls is that they act as natural insulation, keeping air inside the buildings cooler in the summer months and warmer during the winter months, making the occupants that little bit more comfortable.

3) Improve happiness

Being in close proximity with greenery has profound impacts on our mental health. Numerous studies have shown that being around plants – especially with as high of a concentration as is typically on a living wall – reduces stress by lowering our levels of salivary cortisol (a stress hormone) thereby making us feel happier!  Plants increase people’s levels of positive energy and have been shown to help them feel more secure. Who knew that a constant source of happiness could simply be installed in your home?

4) Make us smarter

Having a green wall can make you smarter by improving concentration and boosting creativity. In fact, studies have shown that when people perform mental tasks near plants, the calming influence of this “indoor nature” helps them perform the tasks at a higher quality and with better accuracy. Research has also shown that individuals that spend time near plants are better learners. Potentially even more impressively, being around a high concentration of plants improves the ability of children with ADD to focus and absorb information, improving long term educational outcomes.  So why isn’t there a living wall in every classroom and boardroom in the country?

Coldwell Banker Living Wall

Coldwell Banker, New York City

 

Summary

In summary, living walls have some pretty magical benefits for building occupants. No wonder they’re taking over!

[Check out our living walls design-build services here]

 

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Sources:

http://ellisonchair.tamu.edu/health-and-well-being-benefits-of-plants/#.WKzCATvyuuU

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/urban-mindfulness/200903/plants-make-you-feel-better

http://freshome.com/2013/06/17/living-walls-how-they-can-improve-your-home-health/

https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/report/economics-of-biophilia/

http://www.healthline.com/health-news/air-pollution-what-are-we-breathing-and-how-bad-is-it-for-us-102115#2

http://blog.getniwa.com/10-surprising-ways-plants-makes-happier-healthier-smarter/