Innovation That Matters

Connected green wall

Compact IoT green wall cleans urban air


A German startup has devised an Internet of Things green space that is monitored electronically and removes pollution from the urban environment.

We have already seen modular plant pots that create vertical home gardens, and a plant wall that can purify indoor air. Now, a German company is taking things a step further with an innovation they hope will be an answer to creating low-cost, low-maintenance outdoor urban greenscapes. The company has developed a freestanding plant filter, the CityTree, that can clean the surrounding air of particulate matter while offsetting 240 tons of CO2 equivalents per year. The 12-foot-high unit combines a vertically-installed moss culture with vascular plants for a green wall that can ingest particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone, and has the same cleansing effect as 275 urban trees but at 5 percent of the cost and just 1 percent of the space. Thanks to solar panels and a fully automated provision of water and nutrients using a built-in tank, the CityTree requires only a few hours of maintenance each year, and has a production footprint of just four tons of CO2.

On top of its environmental benefits, the CityTree contains sensors which collect and analyze environmental and climatic data, which is used to regulate and control the unit from a distance, and ensure that the plants thrive as the weather changes. CityTree also contains room for visual or digital information displays that allow advertisers to rent space on the unit, and for advertisers who prefer non-digital advertising, messages can be spelled out by using plants of different colors. The units can also include benches, wi-fi hotspots and e-bike charging stations.

CityTree is the brainchild of clean tech start up Green City Solutions , which was founded in 2015 to develop innovative ways to fight air pollution. The CityTree has already won numerous green awards in Germany and Europe, and the company hopes to, “create living conditions that allow all people around the world to permanently have clean and cool air to breathe … linking the natural abilities of plants with cutting-edge Internet of Things technology in a unique way,” in order to contribute to intelligent city design. What other city landscapes might benefit from thinking vertically, rather than horizontally?




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