Everyone's talking about green and we're not talking about a green dress or how green the lawn is. Green homes involve recycling used material when remodeling. When buying new products, green home owners look for sustainable materials like bamboo or locally grown lumber to minimize the impact to the environment.
Green homes are energy efficient, minimize the amount of water they use and maintain healthy air by introducing fewer VOCs into the house (learn more at Green Homes for Our Children’s Future).
Green is also adventurous, exciting and helping us break through traditional thinking. Tomorrow's home doesn't need to look like the houses we live in today!
Plants Now Decorate Walls
We know that plants grow in dirt, and indoors that means a pot of dirt sitting on the floor. That's traditional but no longer required as this living wall demonstrates. This green wall was created at the University of Hawaii using technology from Green Living Technologies International (GLTi).
The wall is gorgeous and shows off native Hawaiian and tropical plants that require minimal watering. Found in the welcome center for the Microbial Oceanography research center, it is 6 feet wide by 8 feet high (48 sq ft) and the best part is the plants help clean the air in the building!
Living Edible Wall
What once was an asphalt parking lot is now the Edible Garden Green Wall and Outdoor Kitchen at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. They're showing us we can create gardens that are beautiful and a source of food. What better proof that it's possible to grow fresh, local and sustainable (multiple harvests) food in your backyard.
On 1 acre they've planted more than 2,000 different herbs including sage, dianthus, dwarf, phlox, and boxwood. The vertical design is novel and and artistic with the living walls creating 3 crop circles (growing food) or garden rooms (thinking about landscaping). The gardens include fruit trees and 8 foot tall walls with lots of vegetables. When selecting the plants for the edible garden, they picked plants that are easy to maintain and ones that would thrive in the Atlanta climate.
Green Rooftops Save Energy and Control Water
In Philadelphia, there are new parks popping up downtown … and they're on the roof! The PECO (Philadelphia Electric Company) office building demonstrates PECO's commitment to green. Taking 5 months to install, the garden sits on top of an 8-story building.
- The garden uses a growing media which can be up to 8 inches deep so it provides insulation value which should reduce operating costs for heating and/or cooling the building.
- The plants are reducing rainwater runoff which is huge given Philadelphia's concerns about water pollution. The building covers 95% of the land and PECO estimates the green roof will reduce annual storm water runoff by 60 to 70 percent.
Credits for the stories and photos shared here go to lots of people:
- GreenRoofs.com is where I found these stories and loved the first photo.
- Green Living Technologies International provided the foundation for the first 2 wall stories.
- With multiple contributors to the rooftop story, read PECO Office Building for details.