Dave talks to Michael Madarash, a leading designer of living walls -- walls made of living plant material -- before Michael's
recent lecture on the topic at the New England Grows trade show.
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Dave Epstein Hi I'm Dave Epstein here at New England Grows on the trade show floor and the great thing about being here is you see something on the trade show floor like living walls, then you get to go upstairs and hear a lecture like the one we’re going to hear today by Michael Madarash on this very subject.
Michael Madarash: The whole new technology of living walls is something that’s fairly recent on the architecture front. It started in Europe and now it’s making it’s way into North America. And it’s really fascinating because we’re able to take spaces that were previously unusable actually for vertical gardens and put living items on them.
Dave Epstein For landscape professionals, folks in the green industry, this really adds a whole new revenue stream, doesn’t it?
Michael Madarash: Absolutely. This is going to open up a whole new frontier for design professionals and what they can offer their clients.
Dave Epstein For someone that’s getting into this, that’s coming to your lecture to specifically learn about how to add this to their bag of tricks, what’s the one most important thing if you could choose one to tell them?
Michael Madarash: It’s just very important to do that due diligence in terms of what’s going to be used on a project, how it’s going to affect the weights on the wall and also the type of plants that are going to be used. So that down the line it not only looks beautiful but it’s easy to maintain and continues to thrive for the client.
There are new products coming on the market deli. I even walked in the trade show yesterday. I saw some amazing new products that were out there. Patents are being discovered and approved almost on a weekly basis. So this is a changing market, building protection. You’re going to reduce the temperature fluctuations. Now depending on the type of wall it is, depending on the envelope or the space between the green wall and the actual building, this is going to vary. It’s also going to extend the life of the building façade. What a bio-filtration system is doing is it’s actually reclaiming some of the water that’s been used to irrigate the wall. And it’s also starting to take some of the VOCs, which are volatile organic compounds and other pollutants out of the air.
Each square foot of a green wall can weigh between 25 and 40 pounds when fully saturated with water and plant material. So obviously, you need to have the appropriate types of wall structure behind your green wall and make sure that the place that you’re putting this can handle this type of a weight.
Let’s talk a little bit about that irrigation. It’s a bit challenging and it all depends on the components and the plant material again that you’re using. It’s very important to take the recommendations of the various systems that you’re using from the manufactures because they’ve designed this from scratch. They know their product very well. So use them, lean on them. They’re there to help you and they’re there to promote their product and their going to be the best resource on this.
Dave Epstein Living walls, one of the more innovative things you’ll learn about here at one of the many seminars and knowing what grows.