AGU BioWall (“Hy-Phy”) Project – Active Air Filtration to the MAX!
In 2018, GWS along with Nedlaw collaborated with the American GeoPhysical Union (AGU) during their NetZero-LEED Platinum Headquarters Refurbishment at their historic headquarters to create a world first of its kind green wall system purpose built to filter the air in the entire building in conjunction with the buildings Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS).
Located in Washington DC at 2000 Florida Avenue NW – AGU is the worlds largest organization for scientists, and accordingly – their headquarters building has incorporated many cutting edge operational technologies, and the Nedlaw Biofilter system is right there at the forefront of these advances.
Nedlaw’s Active Air Filtration (AAF) green wall system utilizes 24-7 drip irrigation and a thick nylon mesh in two layers attached over perforated metal where. With the plants taken out of the soil and then planted between the two layers of mesh, this provides a substrate for the plants roots to take hold on and continue their growth. With the microbial community providing the vast majority of the air filtration effects for which plants are famous (see HOW DOES AAF WORK ARTICLE – DO LINK HERE), allows Nedlaw to hook to actively pull and filter the air through this system.
At AGU, GWS installed 10 separate Nedlaw AAF living walls spread over 6 floors, and behind each, they are interconnected to a central air chamber with adjustable negative air pressure (versus the front/planted) side of the wall. This design allows AGU to move over 11,000 cfm through the 10 walls, providing enough air movement to turn-over the air in the entire building every 3.4 hours.
Additionally, to handle the air from ‘poor’ air sources in the building (bathrooms, lockers, break-rooms, copy rooms) – each green wall was constructed with a sealed chamber area the growing media continued under and where this ‘poor’ air was pumped into. With the ability to control the negative air pressure behind the walls, we can actively draw air from these poor sources and completely filter this air through the Nedlaw system.
With AGU’s Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) providing all the code required fresh air, it can sometimes be a challenge for the system to do the above and beyond work required by the LEED Platinum requirements due to a variety of issues (outside air temp, pollution levels, pollen levels) and this is where the green walls come in.
The Nedlaw green wall system, planted with all tropical non-pollen producing plants is interconnected with the DOAS to provide supplemental “above and beyond” fresh air to the building at engineer controllable levels. During levels of high temperature or extremely poor air quality, this allows engineers to pull the minimum amount of outdoor air into the building while still providing the highest quality air possible to their building occupants.
With the Lobby of the rebuilt AGU headquarters repurposed as an arena to entice and teach the future minds of science the Lobby wall is an AGU show piece. 15’ high by 20’ wide with 2’ sealed chamber around the entire exterior of the wall – GWS was able to complete construction and planting of this showcase piece in just one week’s time.