On Watering Living Walls in the Home

I’ve mentioned some of the various living walls available for home interiors — Fyto Wall, Woolly Pockets, Minigarden, Ballavaz, Urbio, etc — and most of these require a modicum of wall structure and planning for light and water.  Along these lines, The Wall Street Journal recently took on the topic of living walls and how various pockets, trays, and assemblies are being used inside for home decoration.

WSJ notes, in so many words, that the devil is in the details.

The wall garden pictured above was built with Woolly Pockets and filled with soil, ferns, and tropical plants.  It was installed for about $1,000 by designer Jason Lempieri (working with designer Peter Smith), who tends the garden to make sure it’s adequately watered and maintained, according to WSJ.

Getting the right amount of water for indoor plans can be difficult.  Automatic watering systems, if not monitored, could overwater, malfunction, or create an environment for mold growth, whereas manual watering is only as good as the person tending the overall longevity of the plants.

Nonetheless, given the risks, I think a healthy living wall is a great way to change up the design of an interior space.  Research suggests that the right plant species could also help clean indoor air, too.

[+] Don’t Forget to Water Interior Gardens by the WSJ.

Credits: Jason Lempieri. 

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A Shady Trellis Wall That is Also Edible

Lindsey Hutchinson and husband Todd — both with design backgrounds and a passion for gardening — decided to build “green curtains” or exterior trellises covered in edible vines, according to the Statesman.  The 15-foot living walls will shade the home and rain barrels from the sun, but the Hutchinson’s also intend to harvest the vines for grapes, passionfruit, and Scarlet Runner Beans.  Thusly, these green curtains perform double duty in the form of food production and energy conservation.  What a great idea!

[+] More about the Hutchinson’s edible trellis wall via the Statesman.

Credits: Lindsey Hutchinson.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Lush Edible Living Wall in Los Angeles
  2. KuL Intros Recycled Modular Wall Planters
  3. Embrace a Lush Vertical Plant Wall

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KuL Intros Recycled Modular Wall Planters

Along the lines of Urbio or Minigarden, check out these new modular wall planters by KuL Studios made with recycled HDPE plastic.  Called Ballavaz, the planters can be used indoors or outdoors and are available in 10 colors.  KuL offers two sizes, 24″x12″ and 24″x18″, which mount with screws or hooks.  Ballavaz include a concealed recess for drip irrigation — making these just right for herbs, veggies, and maybe a flower or two.

[+] More about Ballavaz modular wall planters by KuL Studios.

Credits: KuL Studios.

Related Articles on JetsonGreen.com:

  1. Modular Recycled Ditto from 3form
  2. Flock Wool Modular Wall Tiles by Hive
  3. CalStar Unveils Recycled Thru-Wall Unit

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New ‘Artificial Leaf’ is a Real Gamechanger

Green solar technology that’s shaped to imitate nature has been a somewhat common thing over the last few years. However, instead of constructing a set of buildings meant to blend in and look like trees, as people did at the start of the nature building trend. Now scientists are beginning to look at natural, highly beneficial processes – in this case photosynthesis – and attempting to replicate nature’s solar successes.

Substantial progress has been made in this area. Recently researchers at MIT announced that due to a major breakthrough this year they have finally made the solar ‘artificial leaf’ a reality. The leaf is able to split apart the oxygen and hydrogen that make up water. It does this by opposing catalytic bonds on different sides of the leaf to draw the elements apart. It all sounds very complicated; mostly because it is, but it is an astonishing breakthrough whether its one we can fully understand the science behind or not. Once the two elements have been separated they can then be used as a source of energy.

The successful creation of the artificial leaf has reignited people’s imaginations. What we can do using technology grows with each new day. A worldwide group of scientists have looked at the groundbreaking artificial leaf and speculated that the technology can be used to create even more effective photosynthesis like reactions generating even more solar power. A leaf in nature can separate and efficiently process a large amount of different types of energy. The artificial leaf is the first major step to taking advantage of all the different types of energy the sun has to offer and replicating the already safe and clean solar reactions in nature.

This ‘artificial leaf’ development lead one professor, James Barber, who is unconnected with the project to comment, “there is no doubt that their achievement is a major breakthrough which will have a significant impact on the work of others dedicated to constructing light-driven catalytic systems to produce hydrogen and other solar fuels from water.”

It’s pretty much unanimous that the artificial leaf represents a major development and one that has even more amazing potential for growth and innovation. Stay tuned for more groundbreaking developments in solar power potential because they are everywhere.

New ‘Artificial Leaf’ is a Real Gamechanger is a post from: Boots On The Roof

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The Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach Celebrates Its Grand ‘Green’ Opening

Irvine and Newport Beach, CA (Vocus) June 4, 2008

The Environmental Nature Center (ENC) in Newport Beach takes center stage this spring, with the opening of their highly anticipated building and learning center.

Designed by the seasoned sustainability experts at LPA, Inc. , the ENC is on track to become the first LEED Platinum building in Orange County, pending approval from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The sustainable strategies implemented by LPA will potentially save the ENC over $ 20,000 on an annual basis.

Set within the suburbs of Orange County, the ENC provides hands on education with nature and demonstrates indigenous California vegetation and habitats. The new facility adds an additional educational tool that will showcase smart green design.

“The sustainable elements that make up this learning center will demonstrate to students and visitors that green design is the wave of the future,” said Bo Glover, Executive Director of the ENC. “LPA understood that we were in need of a building to complement our commitment to natural science education.”

The 9,000-square-foot facility is located on a 3.5-acre site at 1601 16th Street in Newport Beach, CA. It provides 16,000 students the opportunity to study local ecology in 15 on-site, native Southern California plant communities.

LPA, Inc., one of the largest architectural, planning, landscape, engineer and interior design firms in California, developed the facility for the ENC together with Griffin Structures , Inc., which provided program management. By using a holistic, integrated design approach, where architects and engineers work together from the beginning of a project through its completion, LPA was able to offer a cohesive vision for a building that was unified and sustainable from the ground up.

“We integrated sustainability into every aspect of this building,” comments Rick D’Amato, design principal at LPA, Inc. “The learning center educates visitors about the benefits of environmentally-conscious design through the application of new technologies. These include powering the building from renewable resources such as solar panels and maintaining the health of the ENC staff and visitors through the implementation of green design strategies which provide a healthier indoor environment.”

Sustainable features at the ENC include: optimized building orientation; bicycle storage and shower facilities; drought tolerant, indigenous landscape; fixtures that promote water conservation – such as waterless urinals and low-flow faucets; efficient storm water management and daylight harvesting.

Photovoltaic roof panels convert light into power and provide for 100 percent of the building’s power needs making the ENC a “net zero” building, a new model for sustainability.

Guests enjoy natural ventilation without the use of heating and/or air conditioning, dimming systems and occupancy sensors, an aggressive Sustainable Education program, heat island reduction, and green housekeeping techniques and products.

The extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials includes: insulation made of recycled blue jeans; natural linoleum for countertops – 100% organic and recyclable; composite wood for exterior skin made from saw dust and natural resin; pressed organic materials for millwork and shelving units; natural concrete; carpet tiles with high recycled content and recycled fabrics/finishes for furnishings and work stations.

LPA’s principal in charge of the project is Jim Wirick, with Rick D’Amato serving as design principal and Dave Duff as project manager. The scope of LPA services involved planning, design, programming, architecture, landscape and interior design services. Lake Forest, CA-based Culp & Tanner served as the structural engineer. Griffin Structures served as the program manager, with Gentosi Builders acting as the general contractor.

The Grand Green Opening for the ENC is Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 6 p.m. Invite only. To be included on the Media Entrance List, please RSVP to Rochelle Veturis at (949) 701-4148 or e-mail rveturis @ LPAinc.com.

About the Environmental Nature Center

For over 30 years, the Environmental Nature Center (ENC), a non-profit 501 (c)-3 public benefit corporation, has been serving over 16,000 local students. The ENC is recognized as a leader in science and social science education, providing opportunities for increasing the community’s knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the natural world. For additional information, visit http://www.ENcenter.org. They are located at 1601 16th Street, Newport Beach, CA.

About Griffin Structures, Inc.

Griffin Structures, Inc. provides program management, owner representation, construction management, and program management “at risk.” For more information about Griffin Structures, call (949) 497-9000 or visit http://www.GriffinHoldings.net.

About LPA, Inc.

With offices in Irvine and Roseville, CA, LPA, Inc. is one of the largest multi-disciplinary organizations in California, providing professional services in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, land planning, urban development and interior design. Since its establishment in 1965, LPA has been known for its design solutions and strong project management skills. With over 60 percent of its staff holding LEED