Better Air Quality in Commercial Real Estate
The hottest trend in construction for the past few years has been the new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications and building greener more environmentally friendly buildings.
The benefits for the environment are enormous, but as buildings become more closed off, the air quality has suffered. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed the quality of the indoor environmentas one of the top five health issues currently being faced. The indoor environment is acomplex soup with over two hundred different chemicals. These compounds arise fromthe off-gassing from the furniture, building materials (fabrics, plywood, paints and rugs),the occupants and the activities within the space. Many of these chemicals (commonlyreferred to as volatile organic compounds or ‘VOCs’) are known to cause cancer. All will greatly reduce the well-being of the occupants if allowed to accumulate unchecked.
The traditional way to handle this problem is mechanically bringing “fresh air” infrom the outside and conditioning it by either heating in the winter or cooling it for thesummer months. The process is very costly not only to the environment but also to the pocketbook as energy prices soar. At the University of Guelph, a team of researchers hasfound a solution to this problem. Dr. Alan Darlington and his team have developed a way to bring the outside air cleaning processes indoors cleaning the air inside the same way nature does it outside. The interior plantscapes, Living Walls, are a proprietary solution that is able to create virtual outside air.
The Nedlaw Living Wall is an Indoor Air Biofilter that appears as an interior plantscape and can effectively remove common indoor contaminants and improve the living environment using a fraction of the energy required for ventilation. The underlying technology of the indoor air biofilter is biofiltration, an industrial process to remediate waste air streams. Briefly, air is passed over a biologically active media where the contaminants are broken down by a range of beneficial microbes. The remediation process is sustainable indefinitely. The integration of green plants directly into the biofilter improve the overall performance by creating an environment for more effective biological processes, similar to what is seen with phytoremediation outdoors.
The biofilter improves the indoor environment in a number of ways; first in terms of its impact on the physical characteristics of the space (contaminant levels, temperature and humidity). Under laboratory conditions up to 90% of the formaldehyde and on average 70% of all volatile contaminants are removed with a single pass through the indoor air biofilter. Secondly, there are definite aesthetic aspects of the biofilter.
Studies have shown strong links between greening the indoor space and the well-being of the occupants. The inclusion of plants in the work environment has shown a reduction in the stress levels, increased the productivity and reduced absenteeism among employees.
Nedlaw Living Walls have been installed in over 65 locations throughout North America since 2004. Backed by more than a decade of industry leading research the word is getting out. Living Walls are becoming favourites in Condo’s, Pet Clinics, Grocery Stores and other office buildings and Universities to save on energy, and to help our environment. All this while giving the occupants a beautiful natural piece of artwork in their lives, reconnecting them with the nature cities have taken away.
For more information on Nedlaw Living Walls please contact:
Chris Johnston, Nedlaw Living Walls & Living Roofs
Tags: air biofilter, air quality in commercial real estate, biofilters, biofiltration, cleaning the air inside, commercial real estate, green interiors, increase employee productivity, indoor air solutions, indoor environments, interior plantscapes, living walls, nedlaw living walls, plants in the work environment