The multiple benefits of green walls Health
Everyday life in urban areas is often associated with concrete jungle, traffic noise and pollution.
How does this affect our well-being?
Over half the population live in urban areas and so the main part of each day is spent indoors, most of the time in a work environment.
A recent study led by British Professor Sir Cary Cooper, a work environment specialist, has shown that lack of motivation and low morale could be due to lack of greenery and natural light.
This study carried out with 3,600 employees in 8 different countries suggested that working in an environment disconnected from nature affects us profoundly. On the contrary, employees who worked in an environment with greenery and light had much higher levels of enthusiasm and creativity in all the countries.
Having greenery nearby therefore takes the sometimes harsh edge off
an urban environment and has an invigorating effect
as regards motivation at work.
75% of employees in the American group Genzyme said they felt a stronger connection with their fellow workers after moving to a greener and more spacious working environment. This raises a problem however: not everyone can move premises or pull down walls to create an indoor garden in the organization's premises or reception area.
And this is where the vertical garden really comes into its own. With living walls, it is possible to use numerous previously bare surfaces to grow a magnificent vertical garden or an outdoor green wall, thereby creating a space where people feel good.
It is a fact that the world we live in becomes gradually more polluted every day. Urban environments spread across our planet and pollution in cities is reaching unprecedented levels. This is true both indoors and outdoors.
Researchers in the 70s recognized a "sick building syndrome". This syndrome arises various symptoms such as respiratory problems and illnesses, where at the beginning their origin or cause is always difficult to find out.
There are different ways to explain this syndrome, but it is always associated with an exorbitant number of different chemicals including Formaldehyde (CH2O), VOCs, Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Benzene (C6H6).
These elements are found in numerous everyday objects such as furniture, paintings, wallpaper and even certain cosmetics like nail polish. The hazard linked to these components is the development of asthma-related respiratory problems such as coughing and wheezing.
Carbon monoxide (CO), a toxic gas generated by gas cookers and heating appliances in particular, is also present in high concentrations of cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust fumes. Low level exposure can cause dizziness and headaches and long term exposure can have much more serious consequences.
The reality is that the majority of individuals in urban areas live 90% of their lives indoors or in a confined space.
What a vertical garden offers
Livings walls are not a miracle solution to the pollution caused by humans, but they do bring nature into our cities and our interiors. The virtues of plants are well-known: they act as a natural filter and produce oxygen through photosynthesis.
Certain chemicals can be eliminated by plant roots or their associated microorganisms which break down and assimilate these chemicals.