10 Jun The Importance of Biophilic Design in Office Spaces Post COVID-19
What will office life be like after the pandemic has ended? As we consider the implications of COVID-19 on traditional office spaces, we primarily think of social distancing at work and the sanitization of shared surfaces. Especially now, we can’t discount the now essential element of biophilic design.
The benefits of biophilic design in offices are significant. This concept is used within the design industry to increase the connection between people and nature. Incorporating green walls, a living wall space, and air-purifying plants in indoor environments give occupants direct contact with natural elements while they’re indoors.
Some of the advantages of biophilic design are:
Improved mental health
Improved overall health
In a 2015 Human Spaces report, which studied 7,600 office workers in 16 countries, they determined that greater than 50% of people didn’t have living plants in their workspaces. Those offices that did incorporate natural elements reported a 15% higher wellbeing score and a 6% higher productivity score.
Additionally, using the best plants for air purification will increase air quality. Now common knowledge, a group of NASA scientists in the 1980s discovered that plants are adept at removing chemicals from the air, making it cleaner for us to breathe. Many plants act as natural air purifiers, making them more essential now than ever.
Biophilic design has a lot of benefits. As we navigate through life changed by COVID-19, the health and wellbeing of those who spend their days in offices are more important than ever. The emotional toll that the pandemic has taken can have negative consequences on productivity and mental health. We will all recover best in an environment that promotes health, first and foremost. Utilizing biophilic design delivers a strong message to employees that their wellbeing is valuable above all else.
13 Jan Living Green Walls in Schools Increase Student Performance and Well Being
As educators across the globe look to improve student outcomes – from the elementary to the collegiate level – a new trend is beginning to take root. Equipped with the knowledge that indoor plants improve general health and wellbeing, living green walls, like those created by GSky Plant Systems, are bringing life to educational spaces.
Greenery Leads to Increased Student Performance
It only takes adventuring into “the great outdoors” to understand the myriad benefits being in nature can do for the mind, body and soul. Your heart rate slows as a sense of relaxation ensues, with the stresses of daily life fading as you breathe in the clean, crisp air.
Studies have shown that bringing that experience indoors can have the same effect, and when applied in schools, can transform test results and improve the overall educational experience for children and teachers alike. One study found that vegetation surrounding schools is associated with improved standardized test scores on math and reading, and another study of 101 public high schools in Michigan found that views of greenery from classroom and cafeteria windows were associated with increased standardized test scores and graduation rates, in addition to decreased criminal behavior.
Further studies indicate that simply being in the presence of plants can increase memory retention by approximately 20 percent and improve performance on tests. “This is thought to be due to the fact that their leaves and stems can absorb, deflect, and retract background noise, such as exterior traffic, children playing in the playground, and people talking in corridors.”
Universities at Shady Grove
This fall, to help nurture student learning, GSky® completed the installation of a Versa Wall® for the new Biomedical Sciences & Engineering (BSE) facility at Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland. The wall is part of a biophilic plan to bring interior and exterior campus environments into the building atrium, reinforcing the visual connection between the indoor and outdoor environment. “The living wall is meant to almost appear as an extension of the east courtyard exterior environment flowing into the building,” said Christopher Case, Project Engineer for Gilbane Building Company.
Hazel Wolf K-8
Adding to the STEM/STEAM Curricula
As the ever-evolving educational model continues its shift toward a science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) curriculum, educators are looking to more hands-on learning opportunities. Green walls, described as vertical gardens that encompass plants, a growing mechanism and a watering system, provide teachers with a new way to integrate STEAM principles into the curriculum.
Known as project-based learning, this method allows instructors to develop educational opportunities for students to interact with a green wall. Michael McCullough, Michael Martin and Mollika, in their article, “Implementing Green Walls in School,” explain the benefits of project-based learning: “The essence of project-based learning is that the student constructs meaning and knowledge based on direct experience, interacting with their environment.” In turn, students are empowered to use critical thinking to develop strategies for maintaining a green wall, once again bringing them back to the natural world, despite being indoors.
Through project-based learning, green walls also allow students to better understand nature’s role in STEAM fields, all in one place. From plant biology, to the engineered plant container (created using drafting technology), to the geometrical concepts used in the design phase, all the way to the artistic process involved in the structure, each component is critical in creating a functioning end product.
The Hazel Wolf K-8 at Pinehurst School in Seattle, Washington is embracing this teaching strategy and turned to GSky for help bringing a vibrant vertical garden to life. Displayed in the main entrance of the school, students regularly visit a 323 square foot GSky® Versa Wall® for STEM education. As an active teaching tool for students’ science projects, the living wall features a variety of 1,522 plants and embodies Hazel Wolf’s commitment to the community and students.
Increasing Health and Happiness
The benefits of green walls don’t end at better test scores and increased learning opportunities. What could be argued as the most important component of indoor vertical garden is the change plant life has on the mind and body.
Because stress levels often run high in schools, with what can feel like an insurmountable amount of pressure to perform well, green walls naturally act as a catalyst to reduce stress and anxiety. Plus, the addition of greenery in schools decreases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (as it is absorbed by plants, which then convert it back into oxygen), leading to a reduction in headaches, dizziness and tiredness – all of which contribute to students’ ability to focus.
To increase productivity while beautifying a space, Georgetown University opted for a GSky® Versa Wall® for a student center in one of their residence halls, New South. The 828 square foot vertical garden is filled with 5,000 plants filters and purifies the air, allowing students to breathe easy.
So, no matter one’s location or learning style, GSky’s green walls are proving to be a critical element in creating a positive educational experience for students, big and small.
12 Nov GSky® Versa Wall® Installed at BP’s U.S. Headquarters
Living wall part of a thoughtful redesign after Hurricane Harvey flooded building’s ground floor
GSky Plant Systems, Inc., a global industry leader in the design and production of interior and exterior green walls, announces it supplied a Versa Wall® Living Wall for the newly renovated BP U.S. headquarters, the oil company’s largest office. The building, which along with the rest of Houston’s Energy Corridor, had flooded during Hurricane Harvey and re-opened in May 2018. This first-floor overhaul was finalized in October 2019.
The Versa Wall® system, typically designed for interior spaces, is installed in a very protected exterior location. Thanks to Houston’s mild climate, the living green wall system will thrive at the front entrance of the BP office. Incorporating colors and shapes evoking BP’s iconic logo, the Versa Wall® is the focal point of the building garden-like entry space.
GSky was chosen to supply this artistic element to the redesigned building entry because of its versatility, design capabilities, and proven reputation.
Engineered with a unique tray design for simplified installation and maintenance – plus higher water efficiency – the Versa Wall® is the most versatile system on the market. Featuring a modular design that allows for quick and easy installation, the Versa Wall® can be easily configured to any size and installed around doors, windows, corners, stairs, or columns. It can also incorporate other design elements, including artwork. Each Versa Wall® plant remains in its own four-inch pot, so mature plants can be swapped in quickly and cleanly, and walls can be redesigned at minimal cost to add seasonal color.
The Versa Wall® system does not require constant watering, which promotes plant health and supports sustainability. Featuring patented vertical irrigation technology, the Versa Wall® system cuts water waste, prevents oversaturation, and boosts cost efficiency by automatically running a timed gravity-based irrigation cycle less than once a week, while other walls on the market may run several cycles each day. Completely customizable with vibrant tropical plants, the Versa Wall® enlivens decor, cleans the air, positively impacts the acoustic environment, and enhances productivity.
07 Oct GSky’s Living Green Walls are Ideal for Parking Garage Installation
Innovative living green wall design improves aesthetics and environmental impact
Delray Beach, FL – GSky Plant Systems, Inc., a global industry leader in the design and production of interior and exterior green walls, highlights that its exterior living green walls are ideally suited to installation on parking garage façades.
Parking structures are a crucial component of community planning that reduce congestion on city streets and improve access to retail, offices, residences, and other buildings. Living green walls can dramatically improve the aesthetics of parking structures, introducing beautiful living vegetation into the urban landscape. Green walls serve to reduce air pollution and dampen sound, thus improving quality of life around the garage buildings. GSky’s Director of Artistic Horticulture Design Debbie Kotalic explains, “A GSky® living green wall is a way of calming the concrete jungle.”
GSky’s exterior Pro Wall® is ideal for high design in very visible areas, such as retail developments, office complexes, and more. Featuring custom panels, this highly robust product can make a huge visual impact. With climate in mind, GSky’s experts can help create stunning visual designs on large parking garage façades with the Pro Wall® product.
The Versa Wall® XT allows for thriving living green walls in colder climates than the Pro Wall®, with moderate designability. GSky’s Versa Wall® XT uses 1-gallon potted plants and a proprietary, patented system that makes it the industry’s easiest to install and maintain. Versa Wall® XT installations were designed to reduce wait time for plant growth, thus simplifying the process of improving environmental impact and meeting regulatory needs for new and existing parking structures.
Finally, GSky’s Basic Wall® screening is the company’s most cost-effective option with all the environmental benefits of a living green wall. Especially suited to projects reaching particularly tall heights, the Basic Wall screening utilizes 7-gallon potted plants. It is gaining particular popularity in cities and towns that require vegetation on buildings, as it simplifies the process of adding living plants to new and existing buildings.
Transwestern | West Hollywood, California
GSky’s Pro Wall® installation in West Hollywood beautifies this parking garage while providing significant environmental benefits.
Vancouver International Airport | Vancouver, BC
This GSky® Versa Wall® XT installation at the Vancouver International Airport can withstand winters and adds a beautiful design element to the airport’s overall appearance.
Hyde Beach Resort & Residences | Hallandale Beach, Florida
This GSky® Basic Wall® at Hyde Beach Resort & Residences meets the structural engineering, cost, maintenance needs, and building coverage developers and architects required.
Beachwalk Resort Garage | Hallandale Beach, Florida
This GSky® Basic Wall® enhances the exterior façade of an open air parking garage in South Florida and creates an artistic landscape that is visible to both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
10 Sep GSky Plant Systems Announces Partnership with Moerings USA
Moerings USAto work with architects and developers in Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic
Delray Beach, FL – GSky Plant Systems, Inc., a global industry leader in the design and production of interior and exterior green walls, announces it has entered into a partnership with Moerings USA LLC to represent GSky® living green wall systems with architects, landscape architects, and developers in the upper Midwest, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic United States. Moerings USA is a provider of Sempergreen green roof systems in the United States. Specified projects will be contracted by GSky Plant Systems in the same manner as they are currently contracted.
GSky Plant Systems, Inc. was founded in 2004 and has installed walls in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia. The company installs more than one hundred walls annually.
“Our goal at GSky® is to have our turnkey living wall systems included in projects requiring green walls or vegetated facades,” said Hal Thorne, GSky Plant Systems CEO. “The Sempergreen team works closely with architects, landscape architects, and developers and we look forward to being included in many more projects through the new partnership.”
Sempergreen, headquartered in Culpepper, Virginia, offers quality products for green roofs, living walls, and ready-to-lay ground covering. “Sempergreen USA has great connections with the design community and GSky® has a great product,” said Sempergreen CEO Oscar Warmerdam. “Our company values are the same, and we each want to help the client and end-user with the best possible solution for their project. GSky® walls are clever systems that are simple to install and work well. We are pleased to be working with the team at GSky®, as they are a premier provider of living green wall systems. We look forward to work jointly in the expansion of living green walls along with green roof systems in North America.”
30 Jul GSky Unique Living Green Wall Maintenance Program
Interior Living Green Walls Backed by Only Plant Guarantee in the Industry
Delray Beach, FL – GSky Plant Systems, Inc., a global industry leader in the design and production of interior and exterior green walls, highlights its industry-leading maintenance program for Versa Wall® living green wall systems.
Proper care for the living green walls is essential for the living design’s longevity. The walls must be easily accessible, and standard care should be performed on an ongoing basis. To remain compact, plants must be properly pruned and cleaned. Regular fertilization ensures plants maintain the desired levels of color and vibrance. Effective maintenance holds living wall systems in check, keeps plants healthy, and preserves the intended aesthetics of each wall.
GSky’s 3-Point Maintenance Program
GSky Plant Systems offers an industry-leading comprehensive 3-point maintenance program with hardware coverage, standard on all walls for the first year after installation and available after that period ends. As part of GSky’s maintenance program, GSky® living wall experts regularly visit living green walls to ensure appearance. Periodically, GSky® trained technicians perform a battery of intermittent tasks to ensure excellent plant health, ideal moisture levels, and proper system functionality. With the only plant guarantee in the industry, GSky® replaces any plant attrition with healthy substitutes.
Since irrigation is essential for plant survival, irrigation systems, and drainage systems are maintained. Wall components, such as tanks, trays, filters, and fasteners, are also inspected and cleaned. GSky® trained technicians perform occasional lighting reviews, adjusting timers and fixtures when needed to ensures plants receive adequate light.
Maintenance Makes All the Difference
The Versa Wall® living green wall system by GSky® is designed for simple maintenance. An alternative to walls using pre-grown panels, GSky’s Versa Wall® allows for plants to be easily maintained and replaced with no mess due to the flexibility of the 4-inch pots that are placed directly into the system’s trays without any “re-potting.” With patented vertical irrigation technology, the Versa Wall® only requires water every 8 – 10 days.
Proven GSky® systems, backed by a trained network of maintenance providers, can succeed at locations where a living wall is creatively installed. Prior to installation, GSky Plant Systems and GSky’s dealers work with customers to select appropriate plants, allow effective access for maintenance, and ensure proper lighting conditions to ensure living wall vitality.
12 Jul Innovation In Design & Practice
Growth Of The Living Green Wall Market
In the short span of fifteen years, the global market has moved beyond blanket skepticism of living green walls to enthusiasm, a shift instigated largely by innovations in design and business practices from pioneering provider GSky Plant Systems. Before the arrival of a true system, the green wall market was defined by disorganization and wall failure. The adoption of a focus on long-term success for each specific wall drove a surge in popularity, and the resulting modular designs have allowed architects to reimagine the role of walls from simply vegetation to another artistic medium.
Architectural ambition pushes the limits of living green wall systems. Many of GSky’s most successful recent projects have fulfilled the imaginings of an innovative architect, including walls that design in logos, sweeping curves, divider blinds, television monitors and more.
The Pro Wall® for exterior remains especially adept at reaching new heights on tall structures. Nevertheless, some of these dream concepts require further creative engineering and design on the part of living green wall providers, and some are simply not feasible given the very real limitations of the living components of some walls. Expertise on the part of providers will continue to define the possible and push to the edge of plants’ abilities.
GSky’s worldwide network of dealers draw on unparalleled expertise to implement high-quality living wall solutions throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, Oceana, and elsewhere. Explore our website to learn more.
05 Jun GSky Versa Wall® Wins International Green Wall Competition
Innovative living green wall company sweeps with first, second, and third place
Delray Beach, FL – GSky Plant Systems, Inc., a global industry leader in the design and production of interior and exterior green walls, announces that its interior Versa Wall® living green wall for San Francisco’s McGuire Building is the Grand Award Winner, Green Walls, for I-Plants / Urban Horticulture Magazine’s International Design Contest.
Versa Wall® at the McGuire Building in San Francisco, CA
GSky’s award-winning Versa Wall® design for the McGuire Building in San Francisco, California, marks the first living green wall of its kind to include three free-hanging columns. Completely suspended with no physical connection to the ground, the columns enliven a two-floor atrium space with a variety of colorful tropical plants. The three columns feature GSky’s innovative Versa Wall® gravity-based irrigation technology for higher water efficiency. The columns can be redesigned at minimal cost to add seasonal color since each Versa Wall® plant remains in its own four-inch pot so full-grown plants can be swapped in quickly and cleanly. The design also integrates an array of LED lights for exquisite lighting at night.
Versa Wall® at Van Dyk Recycling Solutions in Norwalk, CT
Living green walls designed and installed by GSky® also won the International Design Contest’s Silver and Bronze Awards. The Versa Wall® for the Van Dyk Recycling Solutions Corporate Office in Norwalk, Connecticut earned the Silver Award for its two-story flowing design which creates sweeping wave-like shapes with plants of different shades. Installed in the company’s centrally located Café area between offices, the wall cleans the air and reduces noise pollution. Like all Versa Wall® systems, it is protected by GSky’s comprehensive maintenance program with hardware coverage and plant guarantee.
Pro Wall® at Transwestern in West Hollywood, CA
GSky’s Pro Wall® for the Transwestern office campus in Los Angeles, California, brightens the side of a four-story parking structure with 4,000 ft2 of living foliage. Winning the contest’s Bronze Award, the five-wall installation incorporates an undulating design with curves flowing from one wall to the next. Exterior lighting highlights the lustrous exterior Pro Wall® even after nightfall.
Versatile. Reliable. Proven. Founded in 2004, GSky Plant Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of vertical Living Green Walls in North America, Europe, Australia and the Middle East in our 15th year in business. The company was founded based on the explosive growth of green technology. GSky® Living Green Walls are irrigated by low flow drip emitters on programmable controllers and in many cases can be equipped with recycling components to create an extremely efficient low water usage system. GSky® has offices in Delray Beach, Florida and Vancouver, British Columbia, with sales offices in Denver, Colorado; San Clemente, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Hamburg, Germany. GSky’s Versa Wall®, Versa Wall® XT, Pro Wall®, and Basic Wall® systems offer indoor and exterior options for most environments. For more information about GSky Plant Systems, call 561-894-8688.
19 Mar GSky Expands Sales Team For Growing Living Green Wall Demand
Skilled Professionals Join to Offer Unique Versa Wall® Technology and Expert Design
Delray Beach, FL – GSky Plant Systems, Inc., a global industry leader in the design and production of interior and exterior green walls, announces three key hires to enhance Sales and Marketing capabilities and embrace growing demand for living walls such as the Versa Wall® and Versa Wall® XT systems.
Jean-Pierre Sijmons joins GSky as Director of Global Dealer Development. In this role, he will develop dealer programs and relationships to expand GSky’s presence in North America and Europe. Jean-Pierre brings 25 years of experience in the interiorscape industry. Since 2002, Sijmons owned and operated City Plantscaping in Denver, Colorado—a member of GSky’s dealer network. Prior to this, Sijmons served as the Operations Manager for Veldkamp’s Interior Landscaping in Holland and Acquisition Manager for Plantscape BV, a Dutch Company. He has also held positions as Sales Manager and General Manager.
Additionally, GSky continues to add top sales professionals in North American and European markets. Joining GSky as Sales Representative for California, Cara Black brings 15 years of sales experience, including 4 years representing green wall products with a dealer in California. Cara has a history of building successful, long-term relationships with clients and partners. In her new role she will work closely with architects and dealers, identify new projects, and support existing GSky corporate client projects.
With 15 years of Administrative, Sales, and Marketing experience, most recently as Marketing Coordinator for Florida’s TooJay’s Restaurant chain, Lea Ackerman joins GSky as Marketing Coordinator. Ackerman will support the field sales team with high-impact sales material and leads, and she will manage the various social media platforms and public relations efforts for the company.
Jean-Paul Sijmons Director of Global Dealer Development
“I became a part of GSky because I wanted to be a part of a company that provides one of the best green wall systems on the market and keeps innovating and improving its product over time. I am excited to offer prospective customers one of the most versatile and efficient green wall systems on the market.”
Cara Black Sales Representative for California
“The market for high-end vegetated walls in California is very strong and GSky’s premium products will be successful in the state. I am excited to join the GSky team and lead the expansion into the California market.”
Lea Ackerman Marketing Coordinator
“I am thrilled to help market GSky living green walls and maintenance services! GSky sets a standard in the industry that is second to none and sharing the benefits of our beautiful living green walls with consumers is not only satisfying, but fun.”
19 Feb GSky Introduces Versa Wall XT for Exterior Installation
Innovative Design Offers Efficient Alternative to Pre-Grown Panel Walls
Delray Beach, FL – GSky Plant Systems, Inc., a global industry leader in the design and production of interior and exterior green walls, introduces the Versa Wall® XT system, an exterior living wall alternative to pre-grown panels. Unlike the pre-planted panels most exterior green walls on the market rely on, each Versa Wall® XT features one-gallon potted plants in lightweight trays, so full-grown plants can be swapped in quickly and cleanly. This system can be a seasonal alternative in colder climates where plants can be removed for the winter or replaced entirely in the spring. The system is easy to install, including around architectural features like doors and windows.
Built on the same proprietary design as the successful indoor Versa Wall®, the Versa Wall® XT features a unique modular design for quick and easy installation and simplified maintenance – and does not require wait time for growth like pre-grown walls do. With the Versa Wall® XT, it is easy to change out individual plants, or exchange a whole wall of plants when seasons change. The Versa Wall® XT is a versatile and long-lasting green solution for shopping malls, corporate and academic campuses, hotels, airports, and more.
Featuring patented vertical irrigation technology, the Versa Wall® XT system cuts water waste, prevents oversaturation, and boosts cost efficiency by automatically running a timed gravity-based irrigation cycle two to three times per week, while other walls on the market may run several cycles each day. Completely customizable with plants local to the installation site, the Versa Wall® XT enlivens façades, cleans the air, shapes the acoustic environment, and combats the dangerous heat island effect in cities.
GSky and its dealer network design, install, and maintain all Versa Wall® XT systems, giving customers creative control over a marquee feature that lasts. Clients include Proctor & Gamble, Vancouver’s Simon Frazier University, and Europe’s largest shopping center at Westfield Mall (London, UK). GSky’s comprehensive maintenance program with hardware coverage and plant guarantee protects every Versa Wall® XT with a highly experienced team of green wall professionals.
Proctor & Gamble | Inwood, West Virginia
Outside of the Proctor & Gamble office complex in West Virginia sits a 700 sq. ft. Versa XT GSky wall.
Private Residence | Delray Beach, Florida
This GSky Versa XT serves as a vibrant exterior wall for the pool area. Because of its versatility, annuals can be added easily.
Westfield Mall | London, UK
GSky’s Versa Wall XT installed at the Westfield Mall in London is a two-sided 17,000 square foot wall that forms a promenade on one side of the mall with a back that faces homes and condominiums. This is our largest project to date.
56 Livingston | Roseland, New Jersey
This professional office compound features an outdoor lounge area where GSky’s Versa Wall XT is featured as a seasonal wall.