We get it – wanting to be in nature with fresh air after being holed up in quarantine for practically an entire year. In quarantine, I’m currently living in a tiny apartment in a city with an AQI that seems to perpetually read, “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” without a car and no want for transportation other than my own two feet. Trust me, I get it. Being locked up for so long can make you feel stir-crazy. To make up for it, I’ve bought more plants and flowers for myself in 2020 than I have my entire life. The team at Respira, experts in commercial living walls quote that 90% of our time is spent indoors. If my math is correct, with stricter stay-at-home orders put in place, then that’s a lot of days. In efforts to keep our indoor spaces feeling open and healthy, Mitchell Cowburn and Dylan Robertson founded the company New Earth Solutions, an Ontario-based firm focused on creating low-energy biophilic design solutions. With New Earth Solutions, they designed Respira, an air-purifying, modular wall garden that takes care of itself.
Respira, “is a hydroponic smart garden that optimizes the plant’s ability to remove indoor pollutants from your home through the science of biofiltration,” as described on the team’s website. Biofiltration is simply a natural form of air purification that takes place when microbes that live near a plant’s roots help recirculate clean air into indoor living spaces. Essentially, toxic air pollutants drift into Respira’s purifying system and an integrated fan pushes that air towards the roots of Respira’s plants, which cleanse the toxic air and turn it into healthy air we can breathe. The whole system comes in either white or black, with a 20W LED grow-light, and is manufactured using sustainably-sourced ABS plastic. Advertised as a garden that takes care of itself, Respira comes equipped with an integrated monitor that manages water temperature, levels, and flow, air temperature, humidity and TVOC levels, and the total amount of dissolved solids present in the plant’s water. If that’s not enough to keep up with the needs of your garden, text alerts can also be set so you can be notified each time one of your plants needs acute attention and Respira’s fully-automated care system allows users to tend to their plants from anywhere. The only responsibilities left for users are filling the water basin every ten days, changing the nutrients every six months, and washing the prefilter every two months. Check it out mom, I can feed my plants miles away from home.
The work that comes with taking care of a Respira plant system is, unsurprisingly, similar to taking care of everyday house plants, but by advertising their “backed-by-science” biofiltration system, Respira attempts to set their design above the rest. Soil biofiltration has garnered a lot of attention in the search for greener air purification models, but it’s still a relatively young technology. Installing biofiltration systems in living spaces can produce cleaner air, but leave it for bigger industrial spaces. The truth is, plant management is easy enough if your living space can accommodate it, and taking the time out to learn how to care for each one of your plants and their specific needs might get you closer to enjoying nature from behind closed doors than responding to a text ever could. Besides, I know of an outdoor nursery that sells ivy for ten bucks a pop and it’s within walking distance.
Designer: New Earth Solutions