These are amazing! I would love to live in a building like this. Right now these are just in Milan, Italy, but I hope this becomes common throughout the world’s cities! In addition to sucking carbon out of the air directly, they also reduce air pollution, noise pollution, cooling costs and energy expenditure for their residents. The beauty and comfort they offer will also entice more residents who value being close to nature to live in high-rises in walkable cities rather than destroying more wilderness by living in wasteful suburban houses and commuting to work in a car, and parking the car in parking lots that take up more land. Studies have shown that being around greenery actually help people live longer, healthier lives, not only by shielding them from pollution and encouraging them to take walks, but also just by reducing their stress. Even though dense urban living is better for the environment and also encourages people to get more exercise by walking instead of driving, a tradeoff has long been how little greenery urban residents are exposed to. Turning high-rises into urban forests is one way to reduce this tradeoff. And if buildings with plants growing on them are seen as beautiful, comfortable, desirable, and contemporary, they will inspire architects, voters, urban planners, and residents to compete to find better ways to green their buildings, instead of competing to create less environmentally beneficial forms of beauty in the buildings they demand and design.
The project's two residential towers -- measuring 80 meters (262 feet) and 112 meters (367 feet) respectively -- play host to around 20,000 trees, shrubs and plants. They spill out from irregularly placed balconies and crawl up the structures' sides. By Boeri's estimates, there are two trees, eight shrubs, and 40 plants for each human inhabitant….
But the architect's proudest claim is that the buildings absorb 30 tons of carbon dioxide and produce 19 tons of oxygen a year, according to his research, with a volume of trees equivalent to more than 215,000 square feet of forestland….
Other energy-efficient features, including geothermal heating systems and wastewater facilities, have attracted less attention. Nonetheless, they help the towers to not only resemble trees, but function like them too, the architect said…..
His firm has already unveiled plans for new Vertical Forest buildings in European cities including Treviso in Italy, Lausanne in Switzerland and Utrecht in the Netherlands.
In the Chinese city of Liuzhou, Guangxi province, he has masterminded an entire "Forest City
," scheduled for completion in 2020, which comprises tree-covered houses, hospitals, schools and office blocks over a sprawling 15-million-square-foot site. (Boeri said that he's also been approached about producing similar "cities" in Egypt and Mexico.)
The greenery also reduces energy costs associated with air conditioning, while shielding residents from noise pollution and air pollution:
The vegetation within VF01 is designed in such a way as to form a continuous green filter between the inside and the outside of the inhabited areas, able to absorb the fine particles produced by urban traffic, to produce oxygen, to absorb CO2 and to shield the balconies and interiors from noise pollution….
The vegetation acts as a filter on the VF01 balconies determining a reduction of nearly 3 degrees between outside and inside temperature and – in summer – a decrease in the heating of the façades by up to 30 degrees.
The vertical forest gets water from a combination of rain (Milan is very rainy, with rainfall every month, 37.1 inches of rain total per year) and re-using water that the buildings have already used. This is supplemented by reusing water that the buildings already uses: The plants are watered by a complex centralized system divided into sub-sectors and equipped with compensated drippers which filters and re-uses gray-water from the buildings and the groundwater previously utilized by the geothermal heat-pump-based VAC system of the complex.
A few years after its construction, the Vertical Forest has given birth to a habitat colonized by numerous animal species (including about 1,600 specimens of birds and butterflies). It currently hosts bumblebees, hermit wild bees, syrphidae (hoverflies)and more, while around 20 different bird species have nests in the towers.
And these buildings aren’t just for the wealthy. As of July 26, 2019, the architect had a proposal was under consideration in Eindhoven, a city in the Netherlands, to create a 19-story vertical forest that will house 125 low-income families who will each pay less than $900 a month in low-cost government subsidized housing:
Italian architect Stefano Boeri is bringing his vertical forest model to a social-housing project in Eindhoven, to show how green homes can be provided at affordable rents.
But it marks the first time the architect has proposed using foliage-filled towers for social housing.
The project aims to provide 125 homes, which will be rented out at affordable rates and made available to low-income groups in the Dutch city. These compact one-bedroom apartments are expected to suit to young, single occupants and couples.
Not every building can or should be a vertical forest, but these vertical forests provide valuable proof of concept that it is possible and desirable to make urban spaces green, to encourage residents, developers, and voters to demand more maximizing of urban greenery, which can lead to shifts in attitudes, the real estate market, building codes, and urban planning. It will be a win for the environment if even people in buildings that can’t be turned into vertical forests are inspired by the beauty and comfort of these vertical forests to plant gardens on their roof, and vote and lobby for more trees and parks instead of parking lots.