Concrete Jungle in Green: Vertical Gardens Breathe New Life in Commercial Spaces

The lack of green spaces continues to become a problem for urban areas. Patches of greenery become fewer and fewer as Metro Manila’s concrete jungles expand. Tillable soil is replaced by developments and towering skyscrapers, making gardening a challenge on commercial and residential levels. It’s an issue that affects the quality of life for residents.

Luckily, some farming methods have been developed specifically for urban areas.  Soilless gardening powered by hydroponics or aeroponics makes it possible for commercial buildings to grow gardens without requiring considerable space.

One gardening trend has been gaining popularity in the country. Vertical gardens in Philippine commercial spaces have started sprouting up as early as 2011.

Vertical Gardens in the Metro

Vertical gardens grow upward with the support of a trellis, wall, fence, or a similar structure. Commercial properties can grow vertical gardens on the interior or exterior of their buildings to create more space for vegetation. Hanging gardens, tiered gardens, and garden towers are some common examples. But the most prominent vertical gardening method among commercial spaces is the living wall.

A living or green wall is constructed from panels or any structural framework attached to a wall. These panels are affixed with plants suitable for soilless gardening before they’re hoisted onto the wall.

Living Walls in Commercial Spaces

Coca-Cola is among the first few brands to integrate the green wall in one of their commercial properties. On the northbound lane of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) near Forbes Park, the soft drink giant built a 60 x 60 foot billboard made mostly of living plants. With 3,600 pots of Fukien tea plants, the signage can absorb a total of 46,800 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The plant billboard is part of Coca Cola’s “Live Positively” campaign to make a difference in the world through sustainability initiatives.

Another high-rise vertical garden stands along EDSA on the Public Safety Savings and Loan Association Inc. (PSSLAI) building’s facade. The southern facade of the 12-story structure is covered with mondo grass and bromeliad plants, holding the promise of green architecture in the metropolis. Just like the Coca Cola billboard, the PSSLAI building aims to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emission along the major thoroughfare.

Finally, the NEX Tower gracing Ayala Avenue in Makati features an 11-meter slice of living green wall. Apart from purifying the air inside the establishment, the vertical garden creates a better office space for the employees, establishing an environment more conducive for working.

The cost of constructing and maintaining vertical gardens is higher than a traditional garden bed. However, these expenses are offset by the compound environmental and health benefits you’ll get from having greenery in commercial spaces. Below are some.

man in a greenhouse

What Vertical Gardens Give You

  • Better employee productivity

Multiple studies have concluded that incorporating green features into the workplace improves employees’ health and performance at work. Decades of research reveal that improved indoor environmental quality is associated with better cognitive function.

Exposure to plants, daylight, and other natural features in the workplace also boosts sleep quality. A Harvard study reported 6.4 percent higher sleep quality scores among employees in buildings with a green certification.

Not surprisingly, better sleep is associated with increased cognitive performance, helping employees do their job more efficiently.

Other research says that biophilic design, or architecture that incorporates nature, vegetation, and other natural world elements, offers plenty of benefits for workers. A biophilic interior design promotes emotional satisfaction, increases productivity, reduces illnesses and absenteeism, and lessens mental fatigue.

  • Cleaner air

Cities bear the brunt of the air pollution issue compared to rural areas. Fumes from factories and industries, exhaust from vehicles, and other particulate matter pass through our airways, creating a host of respiratory problems. This air pollution plus heat from hard surfaces produce the Urban Heat Island effect, wherein metropolitan areas are warmer than their rural neighbors.

Outdoor living walls, such as the one on the PSSLAI building, aim to mitigate air pollution and the heat island phenomenon. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority also tried the same strategy by planting ornamental plants along EDSA  – on highway pillars,  under flyovers, on tunnels, and other areas on the heavily polluted major road.

Apart from the natural ability of plants to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, some species have air-purifying abilities. For the green wall, NEX Tower uses Dracaena futura, Philodendron scandens, ferns, and other species popular for cleaning the air. The building’s green wall improves indoor air quality, which in turn, helps provide a better workplace for employees.

  • Reduced cooling costs, higher bottom line

Exterior vertical gardens placed on the east or west sides lessen the amount of sunlight and heat absorbed by the building. They also mitigate the heat-island effect, which usually occurs in areas where building density is high. The temperature of the exterior walls decreases as well as in the interiors. This means you spend less on cooling and air conditioning, lowering your energy bills.

The vegetation on the outside also acts as insulation, keeping your indoor temperature at a comfortable level. The agreeable temperature helps employees stay focused as they work. So not only do you end up with a higher bottom line, you also get more satisfied, productive workers.

However, living walls need maintenance. The biggest challenge with vertical gardens is sustaining them to make sure you reap the benefits. Some vertical gardening companies provide end-to-end services, from design and installation to maintenance.

World-Class Vertical Gardens

Vertical Green offers an extensive range of soilless gardening solutions. We transform spaces through vertical gardening products backed by rigorous research and development as well as dependable vertical landscape design and maintenance services.

We’ve served different industries and have found satisfied clients in Singapore Changi Airport, Innisfree, Cadbury, Google, and more. Browse our online gallery today to gain inspiration for your own vertical garden.

When you’re ready, call or email us, so we can start talking about your vision. 

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