The project

The first self-tending vertical garden

Vertical gardens on exterior walls and façades are an urban solution to increase the sustainability of our city landscapes. Having met during the 2017 DGNB Sustainability Challenge, the experts at BOXOM GmbH and ASCA teamed up to carry out a joint project to attractively combine a façade garden and printed organic photovoltaics (OPV). The two companies developed a lightweight façade garden capable of tending itself based on sophisticated watering and system technology. ASCA’ semi-transparent OPV modules power the BOXOM façade system, which then supplies the integrated plants with the right amount of water and nutrients needed for growth.

BOXOM’s mission is not just to create vertical gardens, but also to develop façade use for sustainable concepts. The light weight and semi-transparency of the organic photovoltaics (OPV) technology makes it an ideal combination option for vertical gardens. Not only do the OPV modules generate a power supply, they also provide shade for the plants, and protect them from drying out. Plants on the south-facing sides in particular are at risk of getting too much sun, and this is where the OPV modules can help.

An easily replicable concept

The pre-tensioned structure, consisting of steel ropes made by Carl Stahl GmbH, serves as the basis for integrating the OPV modules and plants. The elevated plant cords and the OPV modules are both affixed to these vertically tensioned steel ropes. This system is available as a finished product, and can transform unused vertical façades into attractive, sustainable gardens. The combination of OPV and vertical garden unlocks completely new façade solutions – for both restored and new buildings.

The first OPV vertical garden is currently being presented at a technically innovative “Tiny House” created by Merck KGaA. In addition to the OPV, other highly developed Merck materials and products are also integrated into the Tiny House’s many different functions, such as voice control, electrochromic windows, and flat OLED TVs.

Particularly in view of discussions surrounding fine dust and nitric oxide, the self-tending plant system can play an important part in helping with air purity and the wellbeing of local residents in densely built-up inner cities. BOXOM GmbH, with its Botanic Horizon products, and ASCA, with its printed OPV technology, are making an energy-neutral contribution to improving urban climate here.

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The first self-tending vertical garden