Intelligent Office Buildings That Can Grow Your Greens
So-called “intelligent buildings” are green in more ways than one. They’re eco-friendly, and you could even grow your own greens on the walls.
At least, that’s one of the ideas discussed at a recent British Council for Offices conference, in which the concept of intelligent architecture was on the menu as part of a wider discussion of future office space design.
We’ve all got our own ideas about what the future office might look like – here at officebroker.com we’re just hoping for some friendly robots in the not too distant future. But one idea that certainly caught our attention is the concept of buildings doubling up as allotments.
One day, your office walls could be sprouting all sorts of vegetable goodness, which can then be picked and served in your office canteen. It’s not such a new concept – after all, many offices have their own vegetable gardens on their roof terraces, which office staff help to maintain, pick and help to eat too. Some buildings even sell the produce to local restaurants.
But what’s interesting about these latest ideas is that plants and vegetables can actually be grown on the walls.
Sean Affleck from Make architects describes these living facades as “vertical fields”. According to the BBC, he says that where plants are grown up the walls, they can absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and release oxygen as they go – helping to reduce building emissions and create a cleaner, greener environment.
“Growing living facades could cool cities down like in a forest, where you find cool woodland glades because of all the evaporation going on around you,” he says.
Taking intelligent buildings and office walls to another level is the idea of having interactive walls, or digital walls, which are embedded with sensors. These sensors ‘learn’ all about you and can change the environment accordingly, effectively personalising a room the moment you walk into it.
For instance, you could create a pre-determined microclimate for a meeting, or have the lighting adjusted around your desk when you walk into the office. It might make you feel like a VIP – after all, if your office space starts preparing for your arrival the moment you enter the building, who wouldn’t feel a little bit special? But the truth is, this kind of responsive office space isn’t so far out of reach. John Monaghan from Cisco says that they are already using such technology, and are trialling this responsive material with success.
So whether you fancy the idea of an obedient office, or you prefer to grow your lunch on the walls, in the not-too-distant future you might just be able to have your veg and eat it.