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Living Walls & Green Roofs

Marketed under the name "Dot-Pot" we offer specialist modular green wall and green roof systems for living walls and roofs.

The range consists of innovative vertical garden planters under the brand names of VersiWall, Pixel-Garden and VertiVerd - plus the new VersiRoof range of living roof tiles.

Here and some of the many benefits of living walls and green roofs:

Aesthetics
“A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.” – Sir William Dobell

Our modular green wall systems allow you to create strikingly beautiful, unique and original works of art that can be appreciated by anyone who stops and takes a moment to be captivated by the beauty and diversity that nature has to offer.

When visiting botanical gardens, taking a stroll in a park or hiking through a forest it is easy to see that nature has come up with a huge variety of colours, textures, patterns and sizes. By utilizing this diversity and incorporating hundreds of species of plants it is possible to create living art.

Our systems make it easier for you to design green walls which are diverse, eye-catching, intriguing, simply a pleasure to look and that complement their surroundings

VersiWall, Pixel Garden, and VertiVerd allow you to use plants as your paints and walls as your canvases!

LEED® Credits

Most people’s reaction when seeing a dot-pot living wall is ‘wow this is a green building!’ but other than simply looking green it can be used to earn additional LEED® credits. LEED®, which stands for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized green building certification system. Categories cover issues of sustainability, energy savings, air quality, health & wellness, and acoustics among others.

A dot-pot living wall qualifies directly for two LEED® credits and helps gain an additional thirty points. The following chart lists potential credits that can be earned by the installation of a green wall either on the interior or exterior of a building.

LEED® Category Credits and associated point(s) that a green wall helps to earn
Sustainable Sites Credit 3: Integrated Pest Management, Erosion Control and Landscape Management Plan (1 point) ~
Credit 5: Site Development: Protect or Restore Open Habitat (1 point) +
Credit 6: Stormwater Quantity Control (1 point) ?
Credit 7.1: Heat Island Reduction: Non-Roof (1 point) ?
Credit 8: Light Pollution Reduction (1 point) ~
Water Efficiency Credit 3: Water Efficient Landscaping (1-5 points) +
Energy & Atmosphere Credit 1: Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance (1-18 points) +
Materials & Resources Credit 3: Sustainable Purchasing: Facility Alterations and Additions (1 point) ~
Indoor Environmental Quality Credit 1.4: IAQ Best Management Practices: Reduce Particulates in Air Distribution (1 point) +
Credit 2.1: Occupant Comfort: Occupant Survey (1 point) +
Credit 3.6: Green Cleaning: Indoor Integrated Pest Management (1 point) ~
Innovation in Operations Credit 1: Innovation in Operations (1-4 points) +

Key:
? Qualifies for LEED® credit
+ Positively effects LEED® qualification
~  No negative effect on LEED® credit

The following list, which is broken down into LEED® categories and credits, goes into detail about how installing a green wall can benefit your application. Or click on the LEED® categories in the chart above to be taken to that section.

Key areas of human and environmental health

Sustainable Sites (SS):

Credit 3: Integrated Pest Management, Erosion Control, and Landscape Management Plan (1 point)

  • Outdoor Pest Management: pest populations can be monitored as part of your maintenance package. dot-pot living walls are so diverse that pests rarely become a problem but if needed only 100% organic methods of control are applied.
  • Landscape Waste Diversion: when pruning, all of the clippings are mulched, composted and diverted from entering the waste stream.
  • Reduction of Chemical Fertilizer: an OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute) certified organic fertilizer is used and only in minute amounts.

Credit 5: Site Development: Protect or Restore Open Habitat (1 point)

  • The natural site that is damaged by a building can be restored with a green wall which is an area that provides habitat and promotes biodiversity.
  • Only native and locally adapted plants are used and placed vertically thus increasing the percentage of the total site area covered by vegetation.
  • An exterior green wall positively impacts this LEED® credit.

Credit 6: Stormwater Quantity Control (1 point)

  • Rainwater can be collected and used to irrigate a green wall. In doing so it increases on-site infiltration and evapotranspiration.
  • The roots of plants (and microorganisms that live around them) breakdown and utilize pollution and contaminants within the water which leads to a reduction or total elimination before it is released back into the surrounding environment.
  • A living wall incorporated as part of a stormwater management plan can qualify your building for this LEED® credit.

Credit 7.1: Heat Island Reduction: Non-Roof (1 point)

  • Plants naturally cool their surroundings and absorb solar radiation; by covering a bare wall with vegetation the heat island effect is mitigated. Studies have shown that a green wall can be up to 10°C cooler than an exposed surface.
  • The panels used totally shade the building envelope and because of the way they are attached to the frame, air is free to circulate behind them.
  • A green wall qualifies for this credit as it fits into the category of ‘exterior structure supporting vegetation’.

Credit 8: Light Pollution Reduction (1 point)

  • If an artificial light source is required, it is programmed using an automatic timer ensuring that it is off during all after-hours periods.

Go back to the LEED® categories chart.

Water Efficiency (WE):

Credit 3: Water Efficient Landscaping (1-5 points)

  • Captured rainwater can be used to irrigate a green wall thus reducing or completely cutting out potable water use or other natural surface or subsurface resource consumption.
  • Special water-efficient, climate-tolerant native or adapted plant species are selected.
  • Moisture sensors or weather data-based controllers can be installed which automatically shut off the irrigation system when not required.
  • A green wall positively impacts this LEED® credit.

Go back to the LEED® categories chart.

Energy & Atmosphere (EA):

Credit 1: Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance (1 – 18 points)

Average savings of a green building

  • An interior or exterior green wall can help a building achieve an increased level of operating energy efficiency performance through the following two ways:
    • Having a large number of plants can reduce indoor air temperatures by up to 7°C. Electricity savings of up to 20% can be obtained through reductions of air conditioning requirements.
    • The Green over Grey™ system has a layer of air between it and the wall; this acts as additional insulation thus reducing heating and cooling requirements of a building.
    • An interior or exterior living wall positively impacts this LEED® credit.

Go back to the LEED® categories chart. 

Materials & Resources (MR):

Credit 3: Sustainable Purchasing: Facility Alterations and Additions (1 point)

  • The plants and materials are sourced locally.
  • The fabric used is made up of recycled fibres.
  • Recycled metals or sustainable wood products can be used for framing.

Go back to the LEED® categories chart.

Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ):

Credit 1.4: IAQ Best Management Practices: Reduce Particulates in Air Distribution (1 point)

  • Plants can be thought of as natural, non-mechanical air filtration media.
  • A Green over Grey™ living wall incorporates hundreds of plants, many of which have been proven by NASA scientists to substantially reduce particulates.
  • Certain tropical plants have demonstrated that they capture and remove airborne toxins such as formaldehyde, particulate matter, VOCs, trichloroethylene, carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene, xylene, plus countless others. This leads to significant air quality improvements during the recirculation of indoor air within a building.
  • An indoor green wall has a positive effect on this LEED® credit.

Credit 2.1: Occupant Comfort: Occupant Survey (1 point)

  • A green wall can improve a buildings score on an occupant survey in the following ways:
    • Thermal comfort; natural cooling of plants and insulation provided by the Green over Grey™ living wall system.
    • Acoustics; the leaves of plants attenuate sound by reflecting, refracting and absorbing acoustic energy which leads to fewer echoes.
    • Indoor air quality; plants have been proven to filter and substantially remove airborne particulates and toxins.
    • Other comfort issues; having greenery in and around buildings has shown to alleviate stress and increase overall wellness of its occupants.

Credit 3.6: Green Cleaning: Indoor Integrated Pest Management (1 point)

  • Routine inspection and monitoring for pests can be part of your ongoing maintenance package.
  • If required, only organic methods of control are used and then just for targeted species.

Go back to the LEED® categories chart.

Innovation in Operations (IO):

Credit 1: Innovation in Operations (1-4 points)

  • Installing a green wall does not only help in gaining LEED® points but does it in an innovative way. This is accomplished by simply incorporating the technology that nature has provided instead of relying on man made solutions, which usually require much more energy.
  • A green wall is unique in that it meets a broad range of LEED® credits and does so with a single system.

Go back to the LEED® categories chart.

For more information about LEED®, an invaluable resource is Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

Air Quality
We currently live in a world where little is untouched by man. Pollution reaches the farthest corners of the planet. It is almost enough to make you want to run inside and hide! However, this may not be the best idea because according to modern scientific research, indoor environments may be as much as ten times more polluted than the outdoor environment. This is known as “Sick Building Syndrome”.

The average person spends over 90% of their time indoors. We are constantly being bombarded with indoor air pollution. This includes toxic fumes such as formaldehyde, VOCs, trichloroethylene, carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene, xylene, and countless others.

The good news is that all plants absorb and clean pollutants from the air. Certain tropical species are more efficient than others.

Our modular systems allow you to use hundreds of different plants. So you can always easily make sure that each green wall contains ample numbers of the plants which are best at improving air quality. A single potted plant removes a portion of these airborne toxins and with each additional plant this increases. A green wall can contain over a thousand plants, all of which filter air and in addition create energy-rich oxygen. If you were to have this many plants in pots you would most likely fill your whole house!

Below is more information about common indoor air toxins and how green walls help.

Formaldehyde (CH2O)

is found in products such as furniture, wall paper, cardboard, and facial tissues. It is also used in some plastics, paints, varnishes, dishwashing liquids, fabric softeners, and cosmetics, such as nail polish. It enters the indoor environment through natural sources such as forest fires and certain human activities, including burning tobacco, gasoline and wood. As a result of being in so many common products and so prevalent in the environment, it is present, in its breathable gas form, in virtually all homes and buildings. Studies have suggested that people who are exposed to low levels of formaldehyde for long periods of time are more likely to experience asthma-related respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing. In higher amounts formaldehyde is known to cause cancer of the nasal cavity.

VOC’s

or volatile organic compounds are found in all petroleum products; however there are many other sources such as flooring adhesives (used for carpeting, hardwoods, etc), paint, furniture, wall materials, electronic equipment, cigarette smoke, household cleaning products and even air fresheners! The main reason we should be worried about VOCs is because they are the primary precursor to the formation of ground level ozone and particulate matter in the atmosphere which are the main ingredients of the air pollutant referred to as smog. The negative health effects of smog are well documented.

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

is a common indoor pollutant being released from paints, dry cleaning, adhesives, pesticides and the ink in copy machines, faxes, and printers. Short-term exposure to TCE causes irritation of the nose and throat and depression of the central nervous system. Higher concentrations have caused numbness and facial pain, reduced eyesight, unconsciousness, irregular heartbeat and even death.

Carbon monoxide (CO)

is a dangerous gas which is produced from open fires, gas stoves, appliances and heaters. It is also present in high concentrations in cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust. Low level exposure causes dizziness and headaches while more acute exposure can lead to death because CO actually prevents the delivery of oxygen to the body’s cells.

Benzene (C6H6), Toluene (C7H8) and Xylene (C8H10)

are found in the vapour of products such as gasoline, oils, paints, glues, inks, plastics, and rubber, where they are used as solvents. These three pollutants also enter into the composition of detergents, explosives, pharmaceuticals, foams and dyes. They are skin and eye irritants and are known carcinogens, in connection to human leukemia.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “people living and working in buildings of manmade materials inhale over 300 contaminants every day.” Concerns about these contaminants arise from the hypothesis that, when combined, the toxicity of hundreds of different chemicals can “add up” to create major health hazards.

How green walls can help

So how does this all relate to green walls, you may ask. Well, research undertaken by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) proves that plants are capable of cleaning indoor air of the toxic chemical soup that is common in modern buildings.

Dr. William Wolverton, NASA’s principal investigator researching air quality on space stations, stated that chemicals such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide can be removed from indoor environments by the plant leaves alone. VOCs, TCE, benzene, toluene, xylene and numerous other toxic chemicals can be removed by the roots of plant (or by the microorganisms living around the roots which degrade and assimilate these chemicals).

The chart below lists toxic chemicals commonly found inside buildings and just a few examples of green wall plants which are the most efficient at absorbing and neutralizing them.

Common indoor toxic chemical

Green wall plants best at removing these toxins

Formaldehyde (CH2O)

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum sp.)
Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’)
English ivy (Hedera helix)

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Janet Craig Dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’’)
Ficus sp.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Golden Pothos (Scindapsus aures)
Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
Philodendron sp.

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
Dracaena sp.

Benzene (C6H6) / Toluene (C7H8) / Xylene (C8H10)

Kimberly Queen Fern (Nephrolepis obliterata)
Orchid sp. (Phalenopsis sp.)
Dieffenbachia sp.

Toxic chemicals and the tropical (green wall) plant species which are best at removing them. Adapted from Dr. B.C. Wolverton’s book – How to Grow Fresh Air, 1996.

Through the process of photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and release oxygen (O2). An increase in oxygen helps to keep us awake and alert.

Another advantage of having a green wall is that it saves a lot of space. If the same number of plants that we use on our living walls were growing in pots on your floor you could probably fill your whole house! You will benefit from a dramatic increase in air filtration and oxygen production and do so using much less valuable floor space.

Building Protection

Green walls or living walls protect buildings. They do this by reducing temperature fluctuations of the envelope. A constant flux in temperature leads to the expansion and contraction of building materials. This results in cracks, fractures and general deterioration.

The special methods in which our green walls are framed enhances building protection. The living wall panels and the exterior envelope are separated by a layer of air, allowing the building to ‘breath’. The system is very similar to rain-screening technology; keeping rain off the building while still allowing moisture to escape.

Covering an exposed vertical surface with a green wall shields it from precipitation and wind as well as from harmful UV radiation and corrosive acid rain. This in turn increases the integrity and longevity of a building’s exterior.

Mitigation of the Urban Heat Island Effect

In today’s urban environment cities and towns have been reducing more and more of the vegetation layer that provides these areas the ability to regulate the levels of heat that gets produced by the sun. Without this layer the suns rays and heat get reflected by the concrete and can cause damage to local property and force energy expenses to increase. By introducing green walls to the urban environment it will promote natural cooling by photosynthesis and water evaporation and greatly reduce storm water runoff created by our wet weather conditions here in the west of Europe.

“Air movement along vertical heated surfaces is even greater than over horizontal surfaces. With strategic placement of vertical gardens, plants can create enough turbulence to break vertical air flow which cools the air at the same time it slows it down. By changing wind energy into kinetic and heat energy, planted surfaces can also have a significant impact on local wind patterns – thereby reducing the detrimental effects of wind on a building.” (E. Kuhn and Bass et al., 1999, p. 18,40)

Health and Wellness
Living in urban environments, we are surrounded by concrete, traffic, noise and pollution. This is not healthy. It has a profound impact on our physical and mental wellness. Greenery softens this hard environment, acting as a tonic to ease stress and fatigue. Green walls provide a substantial and spiritual connection to nature which is missing in the modern concrete jungle.

Studies have shown that simply having a view of greenery increases workplace productivity. Furthermore, having plants indoors reduces symptoms of discomfort. This decreases the number of days off due to “sickness”. Gardens that are incorporated into hospitals calm patients leading to the improvement in clinical outcomes and shortened stays.

Air quality is an important aspect of health and wellness and plants have been proven to filter and remove toxins. They also add energy rich oxygen. With each additional plant these benefits are multiplied. A green wall, with thousands of plants, therefore has a major positive impact. This is explained in more detail under the Air Quality section.

Why is it that people feel more relaxed and less stressed around greenery? It is most likely due to man’s evolutionary bond with plants. According to some optometrists the human eye can distinguish between 2,000 shades of green, but only 100 shades of red. Through human evolution, recognizing a plant’s shade of green was really important when you were about to eat it or use it for shelter or medicine. This could be one of the reasons why we feel so comfortable around plants.

According to scientific reports carried out at American and European Universities, simply having a view of plants in a working environment give positive physiological responses. This translates into greater employee efficiency which results in increased earnings for a company.

A study carried out at Washington State University had participants’ blood pressure and emotions monitored while completing a simple, timed computer task in the presence or absence of plants. It concluded that when plants were added to this interior space, the participants were more productive (12% quicker reaction time) and less stressed (lower blood pressure). In addition, immediately after completing the task, participants in the room with plants present reported feeling more attentive than people in the room with no plants. Plants help people to feel more relaxed and focused, which lead to an increase in productivity, creativity, idea generation, and problem solving capabilities.

Another study was carried out at the Norwegian Agricultural University with the goal of assessing the effect of plants in an office on the health and symptoms of discomfort among office personnel. During randomized periods the subjects were exposed to bare office environments and to ones where plants were within view. It was found that during the periods that plants were present, symptoms such as cough, fatigue and dry / itchy skin decrease at 37, 30 and 23% respectively. If people have a view of foliage and feel healthier at work because of plants being present then the number of days off due to ”sickness” decreases.

It has been proven that hospitals which incorporate gardens have been shown to calm patients, improve their well-being and foster improvement in clinical outcomes such as reducing pain medication intake and shortening stays. This reduces the number of people in hospitals, the staffing and medicinal requirements and makes waiting times shorter, which therefore could reduce taxes.

You might have heard about casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere that pump oxygen-rich air into the ventilation systems to make people stay awake longer and thus gamble more. Whether this is a myth or not, the idea behind it makes sense. It is a simple fact that when there is more oxygen in the air, we feel more alert and awake. Instead of installing an expensive system to add extra oxygen to the air, use what nature has given us and incorporate hundreds of plants organized into an artistic green wall. It is cheaper, has lower operating costs, uses much less electricity, constantly filters the air and has positive physiological benefits.

Property Value
Green walls are at the cutting edge of design trends. They have been featured in (or on) upper end hotels and restaurants, designer retail stores, chic spas, exclusive clubs, basically any place looking for distinction; something that makes them stand out from their competitors. A green wall does just that.

Living walls are also great marketing tools that can be used to promote a company’s green image. For example, car dealerships have installed green walls right before the release of new hybrid or electric vehicles. This speaks directly to the green consumer.

In addition to being a marketable green feature, a living wall can increase property values of homes and businesses. Studies have shown that by simply having plants in and around a building or home can increase real estate values by up to 20%. A living wall is a unique way to add more greenery to your ‘interiorscape’ design or exterior landscaping plan and attract more people interested in purchasing your property.

Furthermore, it has been proven that by having greenery in retail shops, malls, restaurants, cafes, bars and other businesses, the number of patrons increases. Studies have also attributed significantly higher occupancy rates at hotels which incorporate gardens and plants compared to those without. A green wall is a great way to provide the greenery that people want. If they feel less stress, become more relaxed, they will end up staying longer in your establishment. This also means that they will probably spend more.

Acoustics
Have you ever been in a large room full of people talking and you feel like you have to yell so the person next to you can hear? Did you feel overwhelmed by the amount of noise and left the room with a ringing in your ears? This is due to the echo created by all of the people’s voices or music bouncing off the walls, ceilings, floors and other hard objects in the room.

Studies have shown that the leaves of plants attenuate sound by reflecting, refracting and absorbing acoustic energy in small amounts. The amount of noise reduction is proportional to the number of plants that are present in a room. Green walls contain such a large number of plants that the acoustics of a room can be substantially improved.

Plants are sometimes used in buildings for their acoustical benefit alone. In Germany a green concert hall was constructed which incorporated many plants. The high density resulted in such a good acoustic quality that the German Broadcasting Station relocated to use the room for news casting.

Plants and trees have been used for years as barriers against traffic and other urban noise pollution. Green walls built on the exteriors of buildings will do the same. They insulate against noise, vibrations and reduce sound penetration. In addition they help to absorb the echo bouncing off buildings and dampen the noise pollution of modern cities.

Sustainability
At dot-pot we are committed to improving the environment and helping to make the cities we live in more sustainable. Our green walls help buildings become more energy efficient which leads to a decrease in carbon emissions. They also mitigate the urban heat island effect, absorb and filter stormwater, reduce pollution and act as carbon sinks.

In addition to using a wide range of native and locally adapted vegetation on our outdoor walls, beneficial organisms, such as small birds, butterflies, bees and ladybugs are attracted to these green oases. Therefore Green over Grey™ is helping to bring biodiversity back into the city!

As outlined in the Energy Savings and LEED® Credits sections a green wall acts as a kind of protective barrier which shields a building from solar radiation and heat penetration. This reduces the demand on cooling systems. In winter Green over Grey™ living walls provides an additional layer of insulation keeping the cold out and warmth in. These features act to reduce the carbon footprint of a building.

The urban heat island effect is defined as a metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. A large portion of this heat comes from the multitude of hard surfaces, including exposed walls, which radiate the sun’s energy. Vegetation has been shown to reduce this effect and the negative impacts it has on life quality.

Green walls naturally absorb and filter stormwater. It is also possible to irrigate them using collected rainwater. The roots, and microorganisms living around them, utilize and remove pollutants found in the water. Excess water is eliminated through the process known as evapotranspiration.

As plants grow they absorb greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and store it in their tissues, basically acting as carbon sponges. The way we arrange the plants in our living wall system is quite dense which means that we are able to have many in a small amount of space. Therefore the carbon that is sequestered (i.e. absorbed and stored) from, say, a 20 m2 (215 ft2) wall is about the same as a medium sized tree.

If you were to go back in time, before any city or agricultural land was developed what you would find is an ecosystem that is very diverse, containing many different plants and animal species. Modern cities and croplands have severely reduced that biological variety. Our outdoor living walls can be viewed as mini ecosystems; the incorporation of such a variety of plant species supports many beneficial organisms such as butterflies, bees, ladybugs and humming birds.

As most people are well aware, rainforests are being cut down and burnt at an alarming rate with over 6000 square meters (1.5 acres) of rainforest lost every second. Experts estimate that we are losing 45 plant species every single day due to rainforest destruction. This equates to over 16,000 species extinction a year! The plants that we use on our indoor green walls are almost all native to tropical rainforests, living under the forest canopy. Whenever possible we try to include species that are threatened in their natural habitat.

Although a subject of debate, supporters of zoos claim that having wildlife in captivity, where people can visit, appreciate and learn about the animals, teaches them to conserve the ones threatened in the wild. One could argue that the same principle can be applied to a green wall. If people are up close and personal with a multitude of plant species perhaps they will have a greater appreciation for the natural world and try harder to halt habitat destruction.

Energy Savings
Naturally everything heats up when exposed to solar radiation. A building is no different. During the summer it leads to an increased demand on cooling systems and the energy they require. Studies have shown that the surface of an exterior green wall is up to 10°C cooler than an exposed wall, therefore considerably less heat is radiated inward. Not only do green walls reduce cooling requirements but they also help to mitigate the urban heat island effect. The Sustainability and LEED® Credits sections go into greater detail about this effect and how green walls or living walls help.

Interior green walls also help to save energy during the summer. Through the process known as transpiration plants actually cool their surrounding environment slightly. With each additional plant this increases and therefore a green wall, with hundreds of plants, can reduce the temperature of a room by anywhere from 3 to 7°C. Some studies have shown that interior green walls can cut electricity bills by up to 20%!

During winter the dot-pot living wall system acts as extra insulation. There is an additional layer of air between it and the wall which reduces the amount of heat escaping and cool air coming in.

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