Christine Prins and Covey Potter

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					Building Phytotechnologies
 Building an Urban Ecosystem within the
             Concrete Jungle
Christine Prins and Covey Potter
Why build green?
Using biological properties to address
 concerns in urban ecosystems
  –   Indoor air quality
  –   Thermoregulation
  –   Roof runoff
  –   Parking lot pollutants/climate
  –   Grey water
  We are confronted with these pollutants most
  every day. How can we use our knowledge of
  the natural environment to combat these?
How do we integrate nature
into our building?   Green Plot Ratio
• Used by urban planners to organize amount of
  greenspace necessary for increased human health and
• Attempting to quantify benefits of plants in an urban
   – Recreation
   – Aesthetics
   – Emotional well-being
• Based on Leaf area index
• Allows for development in conjunction with greenspace
• Open for interpretation on how to implement
                                                 (Ong 2003)
                                       Indoor Air
                               • Humans indoors almost
                               90% of the time “Sick
                               building syndrome” (De
                               Kempener et al. 2004)

• Pollutants several times greater
  indoors than out (Orwell et al.
• Plants and microorganisms in
  Rhizosphere and Phyllosphere
  are critical for pollutant removal
  (Wolverton and Wolverton 1993)
          Indoor Air
• Plant “Biofilters” used to clean
  volatile organic compounds
  (VOC’s) from air.
  - Toluene removed by Azalea
  enriched with bacteria
  Psuedomonas putida;
  - Formaldehyde removed by
  - Xylene removed by Date Palm
  - Ammonia removed by Lady
(De Kempener et al. 2004Orwell et al. 2004,
  Wolverton and Wolverton 1993)
                 CO2 Scrubbers
• Development of industrial bioscrubbers to decrease
  green-house gasses from fossil-fueled power plants
  (Jeong et al. 2003)
• Hot spring Algae (pH 7-11) to treat CO2 (Hsueh et al.
             Green Roofing
• Increased runoff in urban environment due to
  impervious surfaces (Kohler et al. 2002)

• Gravel = 51% runoff while Vegetated = 18%

• 10% cover in green roof yielded 3% decrease in

• A 2% slope with 4 inch media decreased runoff
  to 13%
           (Mentens et al. 2006, VanWoert et al. 2005)
                         Green Roofing
• Affects local microclimate
  - Increased infiltration
  - Increased evaporation
  - Decreased temperature
  - Decreased flooding
  - Dust filtration (and air pollutants)
  - Improved thermal comfort indoors
  - Increased urban wildlife habitat
  - Provides urban ecosystem services

(Kohler et al. 2002, Mentens et al. 2006, Pangopoulos 2008, VanWoert et al. 2006)
Green Roofing

From Mentes et al. 2006
  Green Roofing

From VanWoert et al. 2005
    Urban Forestry
• Trees provide shade, increased
  insulation, decreased insolation,
  increased infiltration, and intake
  of pollutants in the urban
  - Decreased summer air
  conditioning = $15.25/tree, but
  Increased winter heating =
  $5.25/tree (Simpson and
  McPherson 1998)
  - Increased canopy cover by 40%
  yields 2% reduction in vehicle
  emissions (Scott et al. 1998)
The 411 on Graywater (or Greywater)
Municipal wastewater
• Sinks, washers, bathtub
• 50-80% of municipal water use
Not toilet water (that’s black water)
Typical contaminants:
• Low levels of organics and nutrients
• Solids (food particles, hairs and fibers)
• Heavy metals (Mn, Fe, Cd, Al, Pb, etc)
• Xenobiotic Organic Compounds (shampoos, detergents,
  perfumes, coffee, tea, diary products, cleaners, etc)
• Pharmaceuticals
• Bacteria
• Protozoans
• Helminths                                  (Eriksson et al. 2002, Garland et al. 2004)
Filtered and treated greywater can be reused within
  the municipal, domestic, and industrial systems in
  the following ways:
• Restricted and unrestricted irrigation
• Garden/lawn watering
• Toilet flushing
• Non-potable household use
Reusing greywater can lead to a 25-50% reduction in
  total domestic water consumption

                           (Li et al. 2009, Jokerst et al. 2009, Ghisi and Ferreira 2007)
Methods for Remediation
• Hydroponics
  – Horizontal
  – Vertical
• Constructed Wetlands
  – Free Water Flow
  – Horizontal Subsurface Flow
  – Vertical Flow
• Greenhouse Use
• In tandem with Physical Filtration
Hydroponic Systems
• Horizontal
  – Indoor or outdoor
• Vertical (Living Walls)
  – Pre-filtered
  – Indoor aesthetics
  – Downward flow through semi-potted plants
• Benefits:
  – easily added amendments for improved filtration
  – Recycles otherwise wasted nutrients
  – Breaks down organic compounds
                             (Benefits, Environmental, Greywater Treatment
                             2009, Garland et al. 2004, Garland et al. 2000)
Even Useful in
Constructed Wetlands
Outdoor use of marsh/wetland species to filter
  extra nutrients, contaminants, and surfactants
  associated with greywater
• Place inside impermeable layer to prevent
• Sand or gravel filter layer
• Estimated 0.8 m2 of wetland/person

                                (Ghisi and Ferreira 2007, Jokerst et al.
                                2009, Vymazal 2009)
Horizontal Sub-Surface Flow Model       Vertical Flow Model

                       (Vymazal 2009)

                                         (Gross et al. 2007)
Free Water Surface and Subsurface Model

                                                        (Jokerst et al.2009)
At the end of the
Constructed Wetland
treatment, there is a
significant reduction in
contaminants such as excess
nitrogen, phosphorus, etc.

                  (Philippi et al. 1999)
 Greenhouse Use
  Greywater runoff can be
  used to irrigate/water
  greenhouse plants

In tandem with physical
treatment options:
• Septic tanks
• Sedimentation
•Sand/gravel filtration layers
• Disinfectants (Usually Chlorine, but can be biological:
Essential Oils!)
                                 (Winward et al. 2008, Garland et al. 2004, Philippi et al. 1999)
                   Plants to Use!

Typha lattifolia        Scirpus acutus     Phragmites australis

Triticum aestivum    Or your favorite      Lactuca sativa

                                         (Jokerst et al. 2009, Gross et al. 2007,
                                         Winward et al. 2008,Garland et al. 2004)
         Gain Ground-
Turn your concrete jungle into an
       Urban Ecosystem
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