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As urban areas expand, green spaces are becoming increasingly scarce. Vertical gardens are becoming a growing trend, as they represent an innovative solution to this problem by creating an oasis of nature in the heart of the city. Vertical gardens offer many social, economic and environmental benefits, both for cities, for real estate projects and organizations looking to stand out as examples of sustainability and innovation.

Benefits of vertical gardens

Economic benefits: These green structures increase the real estate value of buildings by up to 20%, provide energy efficiency and generate a unique and differentiated identity. Vertical gardens also act as a powerful marketing tool for companies, showing their commitment to sustainability and their innovative character. Environmental benefits: Vertical gardens improve air quality by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen levels. They also help mitigate the urban heat island effect and building energy consumption by reducing surface temperatures by up to 10 degrees during hot seasons while also help bring biodiversity to urban spaces. Social benefits: They contribute to improving physical and mental well-being, create a calm and peaceful environment for people, provide aesthetic beauty and significantly reduce noise pollution. In addition, they promote a sense of community and bring people together around the common goal of creating more sustainable societies connected to nature, which increases the sense of belonging to a city or an organization.

Review of vertical garden systems When investing in a vertical garden it is important to choose the right system for your project. Vertical gardens can be created using two main systems: hydroponic and with substrate. Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages, adapting to the specific needs of each project. Substrate systems are the more traditional option and can be easier for beginners to manage. They offer a natural way to grow plants and require less technical knowledge. However, they can be less productive and require more water than hydroponic systems. Hydroponic systems offer precise nutrient control, which promotes optimal plant development and faster growth. They also consume less water than soil systems, are lighter and take up less space, making them a more sustainable option, especially for large-scale projects. In addition, hydroponic systems tend to have less plant replacement, as plants are less prone to diseases and pests, which translates into lower maintenance costs.

When choosing a system for a vertical garden, it is essential to consider the specific needs and preferences of the project. Substrate systems may be more suitable for those who prefer a more traditional approach or are new to gardening. However, hydroponic systems offer more advantages in terms of productivity and sustainability. Both substrate and hydroponic systems are suitable for both indoor and outdoor installations, and can be adapted to the dimensions of the available space. Professional advice is essential to obtain good results. It is important to have experts who have knowledge in plants, but also in construction, architecture and design to ensure a design that meets your expectations and needs.

Water scarcity and the use of circular strategies Andalusia, like many other regions in southern Europe, faces significant challenges in expanding green areas due to increasing droughts and water scarcity. However, this challenge presents an opportunity for the use of circular economy strategies that reuse reclaimed wastewater from buildings for irrigation. This solution makes it possible to reduce or eliminate water consumption and to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution for urban renaturation and adaptation to climate change. The use of reclaimed water for irrigation of green areas is an increasingly common practice due to the advancement of technology and the significant reduction in the cost of implementing these solutions in recent years. In order to reuse wastewater for landscape irrigation in a safe and effective manner, various reclamation treatments are employed, from completely biological treatment systems, such as wetlands or botanical cells, to different engineering solutions.

Successful pilot project in the Soho of Málaga

Biotonomy collaborated with Bioazul to develop the project Vertical Ecosystem at the Mariposa Hotel in Malaga. As a result, both companies developed and validated a prototype of a hydroponic vertical garden with an innovative irrigation system that reuses grey water from the hotel rooms to irrigate more than 2500 plants of 15 different species. The 100 m2 project was made possible thanks to funding from the European Commission through the Metabuilding platform. Since its implementation, this innovative hydroponic vertical garden has turned the Mariposa Hotel, in Malaga's Soho district, into a unique attraction in the neighborhood. The hotel is now experiencing economic benefits due to the increased number of guests attracted by the impressive plant wall. As a result, Biotonomy is working with the city of Malaga, the University of Malaga and Impact Hub to accelerate the construction of these green structures for the regeneration of buildings and neighborhoods throughout the city.

In conclusion, we see that in response to increasing urban sprawl that leaves less and less green space, vertical gardens are emerging as an innovative solution to create natural oases in the heart of the city. These gardens, steadily growing in popularity, bring valuable economic, environmental and social benefits to cities as well as to real estate projects and organizations looking to stand out as examples of sustainability and innovation. These structures go far beyond simply placing plants on a wall. To carry out these projects successfully, it is essential to have professionals who consider not only botanical aspects, but also architectural and constructive criteria, as well as the right choice of system for each project. Ultimately, circular strategies for wastewater reuse can mark a before and after in the sustainable integration of these elements.

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