Plants to the rescue

Calgary-based DIRTT Environmental Solutions has long wanted to add natural elements to its award-winning modular walls. Aside from their aesthetic qualities, plants remove harmful environmental toxins found in building interiors, which have a direct impact on our well being, resulting in illness and lower rates of productivity in the workplace. Most buildings condition air through an HVAC system to render it fit for human use. but that process requires energy, further contributing to the production of greenhouse gases and the cost of building operations. Plant landscapes can lighten the load of the HVAC system by removing many toxins, resulting in up to 10 per cent less energy use in buildings.

DIRTT (“Doing it Right This Time”) has finally achieved its goal with the launch of Breathe, a simple system for incorporating plants into the company’s walls. Breathe mounts to the tile layer of a wall; it can be retrofitted on existing DIRTT walls or mounted to any flat, vertical building surface, from concrete to gypsum. It is scalable and easily expanded from one panel to a monolithic wall of plants. Designers can incorporate Breathe living walls, or interior plantscapes, to bring nature indoors and detoxify interior spaces. 

This past April, DIRTT implemented Breathe in the latest incarnation of its Chicago Green Learning Center – just across the street from the Merchandise Mart, host to the upcoming NeoCon exposition.