Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 575–585 | Cite as

Green wall technology for the phytoremediation of indoor air: a system for the reduction of high CO2 concentrations

  • FR TorpyEmail author
  • M Zavattaro
  • PJ Irga


Along with the growing requirement to reduce building carbon emissions, a need has arisen to find energy efficient means of improving the quality of indoor air. Indoor plants have been shown to be capable of reducing most air pollutants; however, practical numbers of potted plants will not have the capacity to control many forms of air pollution, especially CO2. Green walls are space-efficient means of increasing the density of indoor plants. We assessed an active green wall for its potential to reduce CO2 in chambers and a test room. Chlorophytum comosum and Epipremnum aureum were both effective cultivars for CO2 removal at light densities greater than 50 μmol m−2 s−1. Substrate ventilation increased the rate of CO2 draw down from chambers, possibly due to increased leaf gas exchange rates. Green walls were then tested in a 15.65-m3 sealed simulation room, allowing the calculation of clean air delivery rate (CADR) and air changes per hour (ACH) equivalents based on CO2 draw down. Rates of CO2 draw down were modest under typical brightly lit indoor conditions (50 μmol m−2 s−1); however, when light intensity was increased to relatively bright levels, similar to indoor conditions next to a window or with the addition of supplementary lighting (250 μmol m−2 s−1), a 1-m2 green wall was capable of significant quantifiable reductions of high CO2 concentrations within a sealed room environment. Extrapolating these findings indicates that a 5-m2 green wall containing C. comosum could balance the respiratory emissions of a full-time occupant.


Carbon dioxide Indoor environment Biofiltration Phytoremediation Sustainable buildings Active green walls 



This research was funded by an Australian Government Department of Industry Research Connections linkage project with Junglefy Pty Ltd. None of the authors have any commercial connection with either the funding body or Junglefy Pty Ltd. beyond the scope of this research project. We would like to thank Ashley Naomi Jane Douglas, Iain Berry and Russell Trenerry for their professional editing assistance with this work, and Gemma Armstrong for laboratory management.

Authors’ contributions

FRT and PJI designed the study, PJI and MZ collected the experimental data, FRT analysed the data and wrote the manuscript, and PJI edited the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11869_2016_452_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (26 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plants and Environmental Quality Research Group, School of Life Sciences, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia
  2. 2.School of Life Sciences, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia

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