Greenwall Proposal "B"

Greenwall Proposal "B"
2. Active Living Walls
by Ashley, Veronica, Amy and David

Our research into the HVAC system of the Sharp Centre showed us how fresh air is brought indoors and that we do not need to open windows (or want them open because air from a window would throw off the HVAC's feedback sensors that monitor room temperature and humidity). So, if the IAQ is excellent, what is the problem?

Heating and Cooling outdoor air burns fossil fuels

In the winter, cold fresh air must be heated before it can go into the building, and in the summer it must be cooled. This levelling of the outdoor air temperature to comfortable room temperature is carbon-intensive as well as costly, especially when one considers that the indoor air is refreshed several times per hour. To do this job the building's heating bill and eco-footprint must be enormous.

Thus! Our problem changed from a concern about IAQ to one of reducing the building's eco-footprint.

Active Living Walls: Let's make our own fresh air!
Greenwalls, or more precisely, "Active Living Walls" as patented by Nedlaw, the company that designed the Koffler Institute wall that I saw (above), are alternative sources of fresh air that replace outdoor air ventilation, and because the air stays indoors the HVAC doesn't need to heat or cool it as much, if at all. A Living Wall is a microcosm of the ecology of the world outside that replicates indoors what happens outdoors, namely those processes that generate the fresh air we breathe. How it works is that the air inside a building is pulled through the living wall where microbes (bacteria) thrive in a continuously moving film of water and as air meets water the microbes breakdown any contaminants like VOC's in the air before the HVAC recirculates the fresh air back into the (closed) loop. So, there you have it, people, fresh air all year long without heating or cooling it to the extent that we do now.

Ideal Location

Where is the most effective location for a living wall at OCAD? Right in your face as you walk through the doors! When you look up, there are walls that go up forever right up to the roof. Putting living walls left, right and centre would not get in anybody's way; and if that weren't enough, these walls face windows that bombard them with natural light all day long.

To prove my point, look at how well this little guy is doing!

Nedlaw told me that the Koffler wall cost about $35K to install. My own quick and rough calculation is that a wall the size of our proposal would be...let us say, several times more than that!
Though I imagine it would pay for itself very quickly, the daunting startup cost is why we finally went with Proposal "A", The Green Screen. However...

Opportunity knocks: The Bandwagon is coming!

Toronto to Host 2009 International Green Roof Congress
1000's of people will attend:
Landscape architects
Roofing Professionals
Policy Makers

And when one looks at who is on the advisory committee, who can doubt that green infrastructure is becoming mainstream:
  • Brian Denney, CAO, Toronto Regional Conservation Authority (TRCA)
  • Marian Fraser, President, Fraser & Company
  • Eva Ligeti, Executive Director, Clean Air Partnership
  • Peter Love, Chief Conservation Officer, Ontario Power Authority
  • Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
  • Ken Ogilvie, Executive Director Emeritus, Pollution Probe
  • David O'Brien, President & CEO, Toronto Hydro
  • Scott Pegg, Environmental Policy Group, Ontario Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure
  • Anastasios (Tas) Venetsanopoulos, VP Research & Innovation, Ryerson University Toronto
  • Scott Wylie, President, Wytech Building Envelope Solutions / Chair, GRHC Ontario Chapter
It's a no brainer that our Greenwall Proposal "B" while expensive is not far fetched but is in fact very much in touch with the zeitgeist, and as such, if we proposed this next year funding would be thrown at our living wall from all directions. Then OCAD would be renowned not only for the hip Sharp Centre but also for our Living (and breathing) Wall.

I wasn't going to blog this since our group went with Proposal "A", but doing the presentation this morning put a spur into me blogspot.

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