Tag Archives: nature

MOBILANE GREEN SCREEN SUSTAINABLE SECURITY FENCING ON DISPLAY AT FUTURESCAPE

The ultimate in secure sustainable security fencing will be on display at the Futurescape event, which takes place Tuesday 15th November at Sandown Park Racecourse, Surrey. Visitors to the Mobilane stand (70) will be able to see the multiple uses and applications for the company’s market leading Green Screen, which has become the sustainable fencing solution of choice for domestic, public sector and commercial applications including housing development, schools, hospitals, car parks and roadside verges.

Mobilane’s Green Screen is a pre-cultivated screen which features a galvanised high carbon steel weldmesh that supports 65 ivy plants, each of which is trained through the mesh as it grows. The steel weldmesh itself delivers a very effective security barrier, while the ivy flourishes and requires minimal maintenance – unlike a traditional hedge which requires periodic heavy pruning and is prone to collapse in high winds or snow. As well as different species of ivy, the screens can also feature Hornbeam, Beech, Ligustrum and Pyracantha. The screens come in a variety of lengths, and are 3m in height.

Crucially, Green Screens have an extremely narrow physical footprint and an expected life of 45 years, giving them a very high biodiversity footprint. They also have additional benefits over walls and wooden fences as they deter graffiti and vandalism.

“Mobilane Green Screens are our most successful proven system,” explains Paul Garlick, National Sales Manager for Mobilane. “The system has proven itself in a wide variety of scenarios and uses, from high-end domestic developments that require the highest levels of security, to large estates where space is at a premium, through to commercial applications around offices, hospitals and car parks, and even as a safety measure along busy roads.

“The benefits of plants in the urban environment is well understood and the need for more plants is a pressing one to help combat pollution. However, the challenge has always been how to introduce plants quickly and effectively. Mobilane Green Screens deliver on all fronts, as their widespread use illustrates. Whether your pressing requirement is aesthetic, sustainability, security, or the need for a rapidly installed instant solution, Green Screens deliver all benefits in one.”

For further information on Mobilane systems visit www.mobilane.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter @Mobilanekant-klaarhaag-lr

 

Advertisements

Mobilane LivePanel on display to help attract new franchisees at Inleaf

Inleaf, the Manchester-based commercial plants specialist has added a Mobilane LivePanel system and three LivePictures to its showroom to allow the company to better demonstrate their benefits to clients, as well as to other installers interested in becoming Inleaf franchisees.

Founded by husband and wife Daniel and Charlotte Atherton – a qualified Landscape Architect – Inleaf are keen supporters of Mobilane systems and have recently completed the design and installation of a 25m square installation as part of an office refurbishment for a pharmaceutical company in Chester.

“Having the LivePanel and LivePicture at the showroom is useful for demonstrating the systems to clients,” explains Daniel Atherton. “However, Inleaf is a franchise operation and all our franchise events are held at our showrooms, so the LivePanels and LivePictures are useful for educating potential franchisees about the unique products they can offer.”

Daniel and Charlotte set the company up with the aim of becoming a franchise, and created their showroom to allow them to train people. With a long-term goal to have franchisees nationwide, Inleaf will recruit, train and support franchisees, as well as taking the lead on new products such as Mobilane systems.

“We launched in February,” continues Daniel, “And we are getting our first franchisees lined up. The industry is very competitive, but with our franchise opportunity we believe franchisees can become successful. There has been a sea change in the last few years and there is a growing market for living walls. The sense we are getting is there is a lot more awareness, which is largely client-led. For example, the Chester installation was part of the client and architect’s brief. We are seeing this more and more.

“In terms of general plants in the commercial space, we are finding a wide range of companies coming to us for solutions, with clients understanding the wide range of benefits of plants in the work place. However, there is still a job to be done in educating smaller businesses, which is where our demonstration systems at the showroom come in.”

inleaf-demo-wall

For further information on Mobilane systems visit www.mobilane.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter @Mobilane

For further information on Inleaf and its franchise opportunity visit www.Inleaf.co.uk

Lack of standards is ruining the reputation of living walls

A lack of regulations and standards is to blame for a commonly held belief that living walls are problematic. Sean Farrell of living wall supplier Mobilane explains why.

While the concept of adding foliage to buildings is an old one – the greek historian Dionorus recorded a technically detailed description of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon – the modern market for living walls is relatively new, yet it has suffered some negative publicity due to the failure of a few high profile examples. These have been pounced upon by critics who have claimed that living walls are both vulnerable and cannot be considered sustainable due to the watering and feeding requirements. These criticisms are wrong and the logic behind them is flawed. It is akin to claiming that cars are not a good idea because Toyota made some mistakes in 2009. It fails to take into account the development of successful systems which are far more efficient and sustainable.

The sustainability criticism is flawed because it fails to consider the green benefits against physical footprint which living walls deliver. For example, if you have a cube shaped building – a square plan and 4 square walls – with all four walls and a roof which are all greened, then that building will have a green ‘footprint’ which is five times the physical plan size of the building. Or to look at it another way, if the building were demolished and its footprint given back to nature, it would still not match the same area as the entirely greened building.

While it is a nice idea that areas of our towns and cities are given back to nature, the reality is that we need all those buildings and roads. There simply is no way that we can realistically introduce sizeable new green spaces in built-up towns and cities when we are already pushed for space. The government’s controversial push for expansion into the countryside reveals just how unrealistic it is to think about returning urban areas to green land. If we are going to add greenery to towns and cities, we have to look at adding it to new and existing buildings, both roofs and walls, that means going up the sides of buildings, and across the tops of them.

The sustainability of a living wall also depends on the efficiency of the system itself and the substrates used. The best modern systems are highly efficient, using low energy sensors to deliver only the exact amount of water required by the plants with no wastage.

However, while the environmental and social benefits of living walls are well understood, living wall systems, screens and living roofs are relatively free of regulatory frameworks and concepts which apply to most other parts of the building envelope, and there are no nationally recognised performance standards in place to reassure the specifier interested in adding greenery to buildings. Designers and specifiers are having to trust living wall suppliers’ claims on the performance of their systems and do not have minimum standards to guide them.

The Government and construction industry has, for many years, been committed to a programme of sustainable and more efficient construction. During this time Building Regulations have become increasingly onerous and there is a myriad of performance and quality control criteria which apply to the vast majority of building products and systems. This has been welcomed by manufacturers and suppliers and as a result the envelope is being pushed when it comes to research and development. Insulation systems, cladding systems, waterproofing systems etc, all have to meet minimum standards to exist in the marketplace and to be competitive. However, living systems such as green walls do not currently have the same requirements.

With no minimum standards in place, and no strong regulations governing the marketplace, suppliers of living systems are free to take systems to market which have not been properly tested and which are not fit for purpose. The result is a marketplace which has seen several high profile failures and in which good systems and good suppliers are being tarnished by the failure of bad systems. It is hardly surprising that living walls are viewed with some suspicion in some quarters, but living wall systems are incredibly important and offer many environmental and social benefits. It is a tragedy that development of the market is being hindered in this way.

Yet it is a market which is developing at a phenomenal pace. The latest living wall systems offer designers a phenomenal design palette and support a huge range of plant types. The external living wall has even moved indoors and it is now possible to have a LivePanel interior wall system installed within a building in less than a day and with no need for alterations to the building fabric. All that’s needed is a blank wall and a power point. The effect is stunning and the benefits to users of public sites such as airports, offices, shopping centres cannot be overstated.

As for the longevity and robustness of exterior living wall systems, there are many examples where the best systems have been thriving for many years. For example, the 150m long, 8m high living wall system at the O2 arena in London which four years after installation continues to thrive with minimal maintenance. The system took a little over a week to install and has not lost a single plant. There are also other excellent examples, such as the impressive living wall installed at Kendal College in Cumbria, the wall at Parkside Hospital in Wimbledon, the Mercedes Research and Development Plant, and a stunning wall at Monaco (surprisingly a harsh, water impoverished marine environment) which six years after installation is still regarded as the best example of a living wall in Europe. All of these installations thrive silently and without fuss, never drawing attention to themselves but always drawing admiration.

Maintenance of living walls is an important consideration and reflects on the lifetime cost of a wall. But the best suppliers will offer competitive maintenance packages.

Until such a time when minimum standards are introduced, designers and developers who are interested in specifying living wall systems need to ensure that suppliers they are speaking to can illustrate their heritage and can prove their systems perform as stated at a fixed price with guarantees for planters. At Mobilane we are able to show photos of progression of growth over 6, 12 and 18 months, as well as examples which continue to thrive after many years. Specifiers should also ensure they choose suppliers who can offer maintenance systems to protect their investment. In our opinion, green walls should not need replacing every four years, they should last a lifetime.

[This article will appear in a future issue of fc&a magazine]