MYROLE RTM1- Featured GrASS on 25 Jan 2011, 330pm

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Dear Friends,

We here at GrASS need your help to help us gather the below mentioned items to help us raise funds for our shelter and other independent pet rescuers.

The items are:

Scrap Paper
Old Newspapers
Old Magazines
Unwanted uncooked/raw Acidic Fruits ( Oranges, pineapples, lime,lemons)
Unwanted uncooked/raw fruits
Unwanted uncooked/raw Vegetables
Brown Sugar
Rice Bran
Red Earth
Glass Jars/Plastic containers with lids
Cardboard boxes (any other cardboard materials)
Aluminium Cans
Expired Food Products

For more ways on how or what items you can donate to help please visit HERE

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Article: Upright gardens

Tuesday August 4, 2009


Green walls and roofs not only hide ugly concrete, they also cleanse and cool city air.

A growing number of buildings worldwide are sprouting lush gardens not just on the ground or on roofs, but on walls. Plants, grown on vertical surfaces seemingly in defiance of gravity, are wrapping buildings in a live palette of green hues.

The Newton Suites in Singapore feature a narrow wall completely covered with greenery.

These hanging gardens are nothing like traditionally grown creepers. They are designed and engineered with a support structure, which allows for more adventurous designs. Take the Quai Branly Museum in Paris. Its 800sqm façade is created from 15,000 plants of 150 different species.

Green walls fall mainly within two types: green façades, where a structure fastened to the wall provides a trellis for vines and climbers planted in the ground or in containers; and the newer living walls (also called biowalls or vertical gardens), where a modular grid of wall pan­els – complete with live plants, growing medium, an irrigation and nutrient-delivery system, and a support structure – is attached to the building. In some of the more technologically advanced systems, the living wall is integrated with filters or beneficial microbes that remove air pollutants.

The grandfather of living walls is French botanist Patrick Blanc, who is responsible for a long list of buildings with such gardens. His basic system consists of a steel frame, waterproof backing material to keep water off the building, and felt fabric for the plants to adhere and grow into.

His vertical garden relies on a new way to grow plants without any soil. This reduces the weight, making it possible to set up the vertical garden on any wall, even those indoors.

Green walls have yet to take off in Malaysia but in Singapore, several buildings already sport them. The tallest vertical garden, at Newton Suites, goes up 30 storeys.

"The natural way is to allow plants to creep up walls but this takes time and there is concern that the roots may impact the wall," says Dr Wong Nyuk Hien, an associate professor at the School of Design and Environment at the National University of Singapore.

"The use of support structures, on the other hand, will aid plant growth and enable the plants to form a dense foliage."

In his two-year research on vertical greenery systems, Wong has documented their many benefits for both building occupants and the surrounding urban environment. He says through shading and transpiration, the vegetation reduces the urban heat island effect, thereby making cities cooler. Vegetated walls also naturally purify the air and insulate buildings from heat. And inside the building, he found the noise level to reduce by 10 decibels.

"The street itself is quieter as the traffic noise is absorbed by the wall and plants," says Wong, who was in Kuala Lumpur recently for a forum on green buildings.

The choice of plants is crucial since some plants just cannot grow on a vertical surface. "You need local studies to see what are the suitable plants," adds Wong. These gardens also need a good irrigation system as they generally do not retain rain water well. To cut down on water usage, Wong advocates combining the irrigation system with rain harvesting and water recycling.

The popularity of green walls, however, is stemmed by high costs, especially in their upkeep. Wong says it currently costs S$150 to S$300 (RM372 to RM744) per sqm. "Hopefully, more research can produce low cost and low maintenance systems, as have been done for roof gardens," he adds.

Costs aside, architect Baylon Tham is intent on incorporating a hanging garden into his proposed 27-storey condominium project in Jelutong, Penang.

"There is just no land available to create a garden of this size on the ground," he says of the 580sqm of wall to will be planted over in his project, which will also have a rooftop garden.

Tham is opting for the cheaper and easier-to-maintain green façade system, comprising horizontally placed planter boxes and climbing cables.

"When I first decided to do the green wall, many people told me it cannot be done. But I eventually found a landscape designer who agreed with me. It will not be easy to install and the plants must also be maintained, but we have to do it. We need to recreate the green areas that we have destroyed and building green walls is one way," he says.

Now, if only more builders shared his sentiments.

This article was taken from: The Star Online: Go Green Live Green 4 August 2009

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