Leckie Elementary School in Washington, DC recently got a green makeover, thanks to the U.S. Green Building Council‘s Center for Green Schools and Suite Plants. USGBC arranged for Suite Plants to donate eight of its LiveFence living green walls to the school, and students, teachers, staff and volunteers came together to build custom rolling wooden planter boxes for the green walls.
The Suite Plants ivy plant walls had been used a few weeks earlier as decoration in an education room at USGBC’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo. Instead of shipping the LiveFence walls back to the company’s greenhouse, increasing the carbon footprint, a more green solution was to find a local home.
“Installing the living walls brought life and better air into our school,” said Leckie Elementary School Principal Atasha James. “They improved the sterile and industrial learning environment at Leckie.”
Living walls act as a natural air purification system by filtering out airborne contaminants, pumping out oxygen to revitalize the air and even regulating humidity levels, which has been shown to reduce the effects of the flu. Numerous studies have demonstrated that living walls have an overwhelmingly positive effect on building occupants by increasing productivity, improving air quality, reducing stress levels, improving cognitive function and even increasing creativity.
The ivy plant walls create a warm and welcoming environment in the school and connect students with nature. This Biophilic design concept, that humans crave a connection to nature and perform better when surrounded by natural elements that mimic the outdoor environment, has been incorporated into a growing number of buildings for leading organizations, such as the living wall installations at Google and Whole Foods.
“Companies like Google are installing living walls because they realize that the benefits of having plants in the workplace, such as increased productivity and creativity, offer a great return on investment,” said Eric Westerduin of Suite Plants. “It’s wonderful that we have this opportunity to install these living walls at Leckie Elementary and give the same benefits to these students. We want to make sure that these students get to experience and appreciate nature even though they are in an urban setting.”