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When everybody is planting apples a visionary plants oranges.

Matshona Dhliwayo

There is overwhelming evidence of the great value of providing plants and indoor Living Walls in offices, places of learning, healthcare facilities, retail spaces and our homes. We typically spend 90% of our time indoors in ‘unnatural’ environments. We need to enrich the spaces in which we are placing people. This enrichment is good for our health, both physical and mental and also provides demonstrable benefits in terms of, for example, business ROI, learning targets, recovery rates & increased retail potential.

Enrichment

The Power of Plants

Indoor Living walls offer the opportunity to put LOTS of toxin cleaning and aesthetically pleasing plants into offices and other interior spaces without taking up valuable floor space.  And they provide a number of interlinked benefits as follows:

Indoor Living Wall Environmental Benefits

  1. Better Air
  2. Better Acoustics
  3. Building Integration

1. Better Air

Measurable Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is a key indicator of the health and wellbeing of our indoor spaces. There is considerable scientific evidence as to the ability of plants to improve the air.

  • Plants remove significant quantities of VOCs from the air
  • Plants reduce CO2 levels by 10 to 25%

At Biotecture we know the right plants to specify to achieve this.

Creating a beautiful environment to ensure the wellbeing of our staff and an unrivalled experience for our customers is very much at the heart of our approach. When visiting Smeg St James’s, you’ll instantly notice the stunning floor to ceiling living wall, comprising lush greens with white and silver accents, a constant source of inspiration and purified, clean air on tap for our staff and customers alike

SMEG London SMEG Regents Street

2. Better Acoustics

Plants absorb, diffract and reflect sound. The balance varies with the frequency at which the sound is generated and the room’s physical properties. The number of plants, the size of the plants and their surface area will all affect its ability to absorb sound. Plants alter room acoustics by reducing the reverberation time. They tend to work better in acoustically live spaces, such as those that have hard surfaces like marble walls, exposed concrete and stone floors.

The Biotecture Living Wall System combines the natural benefits of plants with the inherent sound absorbing qualities of the hydroponic Grodan growing medium. As a complete system it has been fully tested and is certified as a class ‘C’ acoustic material. It can therefore be included as part of the acoustic strategy of a space. The system can therefore perform the roles of both form and function. The test results can be made available on request.

3. Building Integration

The introduction of large numbers of plants into our workspaces and other interior spaces has the potential to be included within the design strategy of spaces. The plants will improve oxygen balance (for the better), remove toxins and balance humidity etc. The potential for plants to be included within building strategies as part of EcoSystem Services becomes a reality at scale.

Our Biotecture Living Walls offer the potential to introduce lots of plants into spaces in a dynamic system. The environmental benefits of the plants can be evaluated and incorporated into M&E calculations so that, for instance, the number of air changes per hour needed can be reduced because the building is producing some of its own fresh air needs. A well designed internal living wall can potential reduce HVAC energy loads. Form and Function.

The heart of the Crystal is a public exhibition on urban sustainability...highlights include a live Tesla coil, a re-circulating waterfall encouraging visitors of all ages to be more conscientious about our most important resource, and a living green wall exposing our interconnected ecosystems

Andrea Shockling Entertainment Designer, Review website (Siemens Crystal)

Indoor Living Wall People Benefits

  1. Health & Wellbeing
  2. Productivity & Creativity
  3. Botanic Art

1. Health & Wellbeing

The environmental benefits of plants in our spaces are good for our physical wellbeing. Cleaner air means fewer headaches. Being surrounded by plants is also good for our mental health. Our intrinsic connection with nature is often lost or forgotten particularly during the working week. Viewing plants, even peripherally, restores this connection.

Internal living walls set large numbers of plants within the vision of people who are otherwise often captive in unnatural environments. Questionnaire studies show that this is enough to redress the balance we need in our lives.

There is overwhelming evidence which demonstrates that the design of an office impacts the health, wellbeing and productivity of its occupants. Furthermore it is increasingly clear that there is a difference between office environments that are simply not harmful – i.e. the absence of ‘bad’ – and environments that positively encourage health and wellbeing, and stimulate productivity.

The staff and management of British Gas believe it is their best building, and many staff members bring in clients to showcase the sustainable aspects of the building. The workforce is inspired, and we are told they find it a great step up from their previous work environment

Ken Giannini Principal, Scott Brownrigg, quoted on Buildings.com (Centrica Oxford)

2. Productivity & Creativity

A number of studies including one commissioned by Biotecture have shown significant benefits in terms of productivity and creativity when we can see plants whilst carry out tasks. This leads to potential returns on investment.

Data from the findings of the study The Relative Benefit of Green Versus Lean Office Space: Three Field Experiments Nieuwenhuis, Knight, Postmes, Haslam as published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology 2014 indicate that a green working environment is consistently more enjoyable for employees, more conducive to concentration, and more productive for the business than its lean equivalent. Indeed, simply enriching a previously spartan space with plants served to increase productivity by 15%. Accordingly, the results point to the value of introducing plants into a workspace for the benefit of employees as well as for the financial health of the organisation. This conclusion is at odds with the present economic and political zeitgeist as well as with modern management techniques, yet it nevertheless identifies a pathway to a more enjoyable, more comfortable, and a more profitable form of office-based working.

Viewing plants reduces blood pressure and heart rate.

Son et al 2004
From a report by JLL: The 3-30-300 rule

There is a “3-30-300” rule of thumb that organizations typically spend approximately $3 per square foot per year for utilities, $30 for rent and $300 for payroll. While these figures are just archetypes, they are useful in providing an order of magnitude between the three areas of expenditure. According to the 3-30-300 model, the greatest financial savings from greening a workplace may not be in energy but in productivity. A 2% energy efficiency improvement would result in savings of $.06 per square foot but a 2% improvement in productivity would result in $6 per square foot through increased employee performance. As beneficial as energy savings can be, any green investment that increases employee wellness and productivity can have exponentially greater value.

3. Botanic Art

Nature restores mental functioning in the same way that food and water restore bodies. The business of everyday life — dodging traffic, making decisions and judgment calls, interacting with strangers, answering emails — is depleting, and what man-made environments take away from us, nature gives back. There’s something mystical and, you might say, unscientific about this claim, but its heart actually rests in what psychologists call attention restoration theory (ART). According to ART, urban environments are draining because they force us to direct our attention to specific tasks (e.g., avoiding the onslaught of traffic) and grab our attention dynamically, compelling us to “look here!” before telling us to instead “look over there!” These demands are draining — and they’re also absent in natural environments. Forests, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans demand very little from us, though they’re still engaging, ever changing, and attention-grabbing. The difference between natural and urban landscapes is how they command our attention. While man-made landscapes bombard us with stimulation, their natural counterparts give us the chance to think as much or as little as we’d like, and the opportunity to replenish exhausted mental resources.

From an Article in the Atlantic in 2013 entitled How Nature Resets Our Minds and Bodies

With our new Garden Gate, our passengers can enjoy a natural sanctuary of rest and relaxation as they make their way through the airport, with 1,680 plants ready to see them on their way

Emma Gilthorpe Strategy Director, Heathrow (Heathrow Airport)

Indoor Living Wall Business Benefits

  1. Workplace Satisfaction
  2. Staff Retention
  3. Seen to Be Green

1. Workplace Satisfaction

Research has shown that 94% of staff view their working environment as a reflection of how they are valued as employees but only 39% feel that their working environment has been designed with them in mind. Echo Research reported that employees said that they would feel 62% more motivated if their employers made more of an effort to improve their surroundings and that they would be 30% more productive as a result. Factors such as natural light, good ventilation and greenery were found to be the most important factors for workplace satisfaction in office design.

Studies prove that provision of an enriched environment will lead to greater workplace satisfaction. This, in turn, will lead to increased levels of staff retention and a significant reduction in staff turnover, recruitment and training budgets. IN 2004 the British Council for Offices found that 45% of workers said that they would change their job for another one if the working environment was better; even if their role, salary and benefits were to stay the same.

2. Staff Retention

Research has shown that 94% of staff view their working environment as a reflection of how they are valued as employees but only 39% feel that their working environment has been designed with them in mind. Echo Research reported that employees said that they would feel 62% more motivated if their employers made more of an effort to improve their surroundings and that they would be 30% more productive as a result. Factors such as natural light, good ventilation and greenery were found to be the most important factors for workplace satisfaction in office design.

Studies prove that provision of an enriched environment will lead to greater workplace satisfaction. This, in turn, will lead to increased levels of staff retention and a significant reduction in staff turnover, recruitment and training budgets. IN 2014 the British Council for Offices found that 45% of workers said that they would change their job for another one if the working environment was better; even if their role, salary and benefits were to stay the same.

3. Seen to Be Green

At Biotecture we can help you to have beautiful, effective and long lasting internal planting in a dynamic living wall system that will satisfy the requirements of both form and function.

The growing green walls by Biotecture are amazing… they are watered hydroponically and would be a perfect way to transform a barren backdrop into a mass of green. A real tour de force.

Bunny Guinness The Telegraph

To see some out out internal living walls and learn more about the projects please visit our portfolio

You can also learn more about the benefits of living walls in outdoor spaces here