Product Review

Do Living Walls Make for Cleaner Indoor Air?

Nedlaw Living Wall Biofilters do more than most green walls to remove VOCs, but it’s unclear that they provide a true fresh air supply.

Living walls, or green walls, can provide a powerful connection with nature in otherwise sterile urban interiors. But plants used as interior decorations have been consistently overhyped as tools for everything from cleaning indoor air to increasing productivity (see Bringing Nature Indoors: The Myths and Realities of Plants in Buildings). Worse, living walls have the potential to add CO2 and excess moisture into a space, causing more indoor air quality (IAQ) problems than they solve.

Nedlaw has a long history of building successful living walls, having installed more than 30 systems over the years, beginning with its first (and still functioning) living wall in 2003 at the University of Guelph-Humbert in Toronto, Canada. The company’s Living Wall Biofilter is different from other living walls because it incorporates a ventilation system behind the plants so that air is drawn through plants’ root zone, where microbes break down volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and clean the air, according to the company.

Published May 26, 2017 Permalink