The future of today’s cities and infrastructures looks green, literally. As environmental impact awareness increases around the world, cities, and property owners are learning ways to make their city eco-friendlier, or “green.” Doing so involves adding more renewable energy, better public transportation, implementing more smart technology, cooling the city’s temperature, creating a cleaner earth and most importantly, cleaner air.
In fact, many of the cities that are rapidly transforming themselves “greener” are those that have poor air-quality. From Beijing to New York City to Mexico City to Paris, urban cities around the world are becoming greener to decrease their air-pollution. And what better way to do this than to add more of nature’s greens.
Understanding the problem.
As we all know, plants help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere as they use this for food and release oxygen for us to breath. Too much CO2 in the atmosphere increases temperature, creates smog and kills.
According to the World Health Organization, each year, approximately 7 million premature deaths can be linked to air pollution. Polluted air leads to respiratory diseases and infections, and worsens the effects of cardiovascular diseases. The study included both indoor and outdoor air pollution.
In addition, the rise in temperature is inducing the melting of glaciers that consequently raises the ocean’s levels and temperature. Unfortunately, warmer waters create stronger hurricanes and cyclones, which the United States recently experienced back-to-back this year. Flooding, property damage, and tree debris was commonly seen throughout the states, especially Texas and Florida.
Atmospheric CO2 levels are rising. The United Nation’s weather agency reported CO2 concentration in 2016 to be 403.3 parts per million (ppm). This is 3.3 ppm larger than 2015. The cause – El Niño and human activities. Human activities that include deforestation, which is estimated to cause a 15% increase in CO2 emissions.
What can companies do?
We all share this planet and are impacted by the effects of risings CO2 levels. Luckily, each of us can contribute to the improvement of our daily lives by helping the environment. Companies are now implementing greener practices as part of their corporate responsibilities. Big name corporations like Amazon, Google or and Apple are adding green spaces to their hubs.
And we’re not referring to only adding beautiful green lawns. Large trees are being planted to help shade employees and guests, while also cooling down the area. Gardens are gaining popularity, especially those that create food, such as vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Flowers are adding a wide array of colors to contrast the many shades of green. Water elements are also complementing the greenery scene.
And these changes don’t only apply to the ground, they’re actually going up! Gardens are being grown on the roofs of buildings, improving water management, providing insulation, creating a more durable roof, and not to mention a much more appealing one as well.
But the benefits of becoming a green company doesn't end there.
The urban garden havens are supporting the local wildlife populations, such as the endangered bumblebee that pollinates over 90 commercial crops. Corporate spaces are also attracting local residents, or potential customers, becoming parks and recreational areas for guests to enjoy on the regular. Providing a green space also helps the employees, improving their happiness and lowering stress levels. With the right landscaping, companies can create a thriving community.
Green spaces also help in the long term economically. Green roofing systems last up to 50 years and save companies almost 50% on heating and cooling expenses. Property owners can also take benefit of green landscaping as it has been proven to increase property value by at least 7% in residential areas and 18% in building lots.
If your company is looking for some inspiration, here’s 5 landscaping design ideas for your office park to start with.
Duval Landscape is working to make Florida greener, economically and environmentally. If you want to learn more about how we do it or have any other questions, feel free to contact us!