Guelph-based New Earth Solutions has created living walls to purify air and brighten up spaces in the home.
Co-founders Dylan Robertson and Mitchell Cowburn created the company in 2018 after realizing their vision to create a more sustainable real estate market.
“At the early onset of the business we were selling pretty much everything under the sun: solar, LED lights, living walls, living roofs,” said Robertson. “We were trying to kind of find our niche and find our way in the sustainable real estate market, and eventually we narrowed our focus down to living walls because we found that they had the most benefit in what we were trying to do.”
Robertson and Cowburn developed a hydroponic living wall that uses water to give plants nutrients instead of traditional soil.
“The main difference between our system and any other system is we're actively purifying the air by pulling the ambient air in a space through the root zone, which is planted hydroponically,” said Robertson.
Unlike plant walls that use soil, the hydroponic system called Respira leaves roots open to the air which purifies air better than relying on leaves.
“When you have a potted plant a lot of the soil and the micro-organisms are living within the root zone and beneath the soil,” Robertson said. “By covering that up you actually create more of a deficit for the plants to be able to clean the air… What we've done is removed that soil, and we have bare rooted plants so that's just roots exposed to the air.”
Robertson said the maintenance on the Respira living walls is minimal and an intersection of horticulture and technology.
“We’ve packed in a ton of technology into the system that allows the maintenance of the wall to be totally hands free, so you don't have to worry about water light or nutrient requirements,” Robertson said.
All of the requirements would be updated in the customers phone to notify them when to pour water in the system, and when plants need nutrients. The lights for the plants turn off automatically to ensure the wall gets the right amount of light.
The only physical maintenance needed is trimming your wall to the shape you desire.
Robertson said he feels connecting with nature is more important now than ever.
“Our origin comes from living in forests and fields and experiencing nature directly,” said Robertson. “With all of us spending 90 per cent of our time indoors typically on a regular day, becoming disconnected from nature… that's really where the purpose of our company and Respira comes into play."
For more info go to www.respira.ca.