Installing the Biowall at 14 Maple Avenue

November 25, 2008

Here are some photos of our biowall being installed by the folks of Furbish Company. There are three layers of porous material to which the plants are attached: one layer of abrasive mat, one layer of coconut fiber mat, and another layer of abrasive mat. The abrasive mat, incidentally, is not unlike the typical abrasive material you find on a dish sponge. The plants’ roots grow downward between the layers.

The plants are watered through a pump system; water cascades down through the plants from the top of the wall, collecting in a trough at the bottom and is then pumped back to the top of the wall.

The functional value of the biowall is to improve indoor air quality. The HVAC system is connected to the biowall, so that as a fan passes air through the wall and into office spaces, bacteria in the plants’ roots act as a natural air filter by removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide.

The biowall is a beautiful design solution. Not only does it naturally filter the air and requires no more upkeep that any typical indoor landscape feature, it also serves as the central, defining aesthetic feature of our new office.

For Furbish Company’s list of typical biowall plants, click here.

And here’s an example of a completed biowall, the Robertson Building in Toronto, which is home to a small cluster of community organizations, entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations: