Junglefy was a production partner last week at the second annual SEE Sustainable Experience event. We provided a couple of stand alone Junglefy Breathing Wall prototypes at the entry to the expo and Suzie Barnett (Good Marketing & PR) facilitated a session with Dr Fraser Torpy (UTS), Matt Williams (Lend Lease) and myself on the importance of science in living infrastructure systems, in particular the research behind the Junglefy Breathing Wall and how this impacted on the commercial decision at Lendlease to install it into their new global HQ in Barangaroo, Sydney.

It was fantastic to be able to finally tell this story, here is a little summary on what everyone had to say…

Dr Torpy told the audience how the Plants and Environment Quality Research (PEQR) Group at UTS has been working on the relationship between air quality and plants for the last 20 years. He outlined the work of NASA and Bill Wolverton who in the 80’s researched the idea of sending plants up to space and discovered that they removed toxic air pollutants from the spacecraft. Dr Ronald Wood and Margaret Burchett (Dr Torpy’s predecessors) continued this research, testing the ability of plants to clean indoor air, after all there isn’t much difference between a modern sealed office and a spacecraft, he said.

Dr Torpy then took over this research, together with Peter Irga, one of Australia’s leading bio-technicians, and found that pot plants remove a variety of VOCs, C02 and improve workplace happiness. They also found that despite repeated claims that pot plants spread dangerous fungi and Legionella around our office spaces, this is simply not true, at least for the Breathing Wall.

By 2013/14, Fraser and his team came to the conclusion that plants had a major impact on indoor air quality, but you would need far too many to actually make a real difference. He then met a guy called Jock Gammon (not sure if you know him??) and was introduced to the Junglefy Breathing Wall and this, he said, changed everything.

At this stage of the talk, Dr Torpy got really excited, he explained how the Junglefy Breathing Wall works with its dense number of plants for increased biophilia and more foliage to remove C02, combined with an active ventilation system, which meant faster VOC removal and filtration to remove our most harmful killer, particular matter.

He told the audience how Junglefy gave him and his team the freedom to test what he thought was important based on prior research. There was no pressure to supply the “right” answer and because of this they really put the breathing wall through its paces. The results, he said were phenomenal and at first he thought they must be incorrect, so he tested them again, and again and each time the results were the same. He said the Junglefy Breathing Wall, based on his research, is a quantum step forward in the goal of replacing HVAC systems. He stated that with further research and testing he thinks we are only five years away from being able to achieve this.

He then went on to say that he has only just started on this research, the impact such a system will have on temperature control, humidity (did you know it’s the lack of humidity that causes the increase of colds in winter?)…bad smells, cigarette smoke…the list went on.

Matt Williams from Lendlease and I then entered the discussion. I gave everyone a bit more detail about how it works and mentioned the continued research we have planned with Dr Torpy and his team. For me, this kind of research is unquantifiable in terms of its impact on the commercialisation of our Breathing Wall and launching it into the Australian market. Matt Williams backed this up and said it was the research that convinced the risk-adverse Lendlease team to get behind it and include it into their new offices at Barangaroo. He said, Lendlease were looking for design elements that had a positive impact on people.

Matt explained that the Junglefy Breathing Wall is one of the hero elements of their new workspace, which is all about the health and wellbeing of people. This is a strong shift away from the efficiency targets of the last decade and will set a next benchmark in workspaces. Matt also mentioned working with both Junglefy and UTS on researching the impact of the Breathing Wall on HVAC systems and talked about the concept of wrapping an entire building in plants to enable it to clean the air all around it.

There was then a great deal of discussion around the future of living infrastructure and it’s impact on the built environment both on the inside and outside. It was clear to anyone who attended, that this was just the beginning of the next generation of green walls that will emerge as functional, operationally impactful systems, not just a token, aesthetic design elements.

Exciting times ahead.

Huge thankyou to Dr Fraser Torpy, Suzie Barnett & Matt Williams for joining us for our session and to anyone who attended. Also a big shout out to Anthony Lieberman for inviting us to be a part of SEE Sustainability.

 

About SEE Sustainability

Running from 21-23 July at Sydney’s Australian Technology Park, SEE Sustainable Experience is an annual green building and construction product showcase event for industry professionals and the general public.

More than just an expo, SEE 2016 is about education, collaboration and inspiration. It’s about bringing industry professionals and suppliers together so we can benefit from the latest research, data and technology coming out of Australia and abroad.