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biome air purification

Biome Air Purification System

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Jun 17, 2019

With allergy season in full bloom in many parts of North America, homeowners who suffer from respiratory issues due to pollen, animal dander, dust mites, ragweed, molds, and other common allergens tend to prefer to stay indoors. One recent survey found that almost 55 percent of people in the US suffered from allergies. Allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as hay fever, affects up to 30 percent of all US adults and 40 percent of US children.

But how do you protect your indoor air quality? Changing the air filter in your HVAC system is a straightforward fix that most homeowners do regularly to limit the number of allergens and other pollutants and contaminants that make your way into your home. Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) and Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV) are other great solutions for improving the indoor air quality of homes with a tight building envelope or are built to passive house standards to increase overall energy efficiency.

Filling up every spare corner of your home with indoor air purifying plants is another strategy to help your home mimic the fresh, pure air of a forest ecosystem. Plants play an essential role in purifying the air we breathe, sucking up carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen into the air we breathe, and getting rid of all sorts of common air contaminants. The problem, unfortunately, is that not every homeowner was born with a green thumb, and many of us struggle mightily to keep even a simple succulent plant alive.

We found an innovative solution: Biome has recently developed a modular wall panel that grows plants hydroponically. This living wall system combines an aesthetically pleasing wall hanging that naturally filters and purifies the air inside your house while also incorporating the latest smart home technology to help you keep your plants alive. Before we discuss the Biome, it’s essential to understand why plants are beneficial for our health.

biome bedroom
Photo Credit: Biome

The Importance of Indoor Plants 

recent article by Harvard Business Review found that “exposure to green spaces profoundly enhances physical and mental well-being, which is why corporations like Google prioritize biophilia as a core design principle. Studies are showing these interventions can reduce not just everyday stress but also boost general health. Taking walks in nature lowers anxiety and depression while boosting mood and well-being, a large-scale study showed. Exposure to more light can boost Vitamin D levels that are known to increase mood, especially in colder months.”

While the article was urging businesses to incorporate nature-inspired work areas to improve worker productivity, the same lessons translate directly into the design and creation of healthy and nourishing places within our homes. 

The EPA estimates that the average person spends upwards of 90 percent of their time indoors. While taking a stroll through the woods might very well bring a host of mental and physical health benefits, many of us who live hectic, busy lives in urban concrete jungles simply don’t have that luxury. Architectural design strategies that allow our homes to integrate natural elements inside the walls we occupy are often the only “access” to the natural world that many people might enjoy. Biophilic architectural design focuses on bringing the natural world into the interior spaces that we inhabit. 

Whether located in an old-growth forest in British Colombia or on a living wall in a studio apartment in New York City, plants can absorb carbon dioxide and a host of other potentially dangerous gasses (such as common volatile organic compounds or VOCs, lurking inside our homes). Plants can metabolize these potentially harmful gasses and use them to release oxygen and other beneficial byproducts back into the air we breathe. Several “metal accumulating plant species” can take dangerous heavy metals from their surroundings, such as cadmium, lead, nickel, and zinc, and sequester them into their plant tissue. One study finds that these plants can sequester up to 100 or 1000 times more heavy metals than common plant species. 

NASA research looking for a way to develop long-term space habitation has found that the roots of plants can decrease CO2 and increase oxygen (essential in space where oxygen is not present), while also filtering out VOCs that off-gas from everyday household products such as carpeting, and cooking and cleaning products.

The Biome Air Purification System 

The Biome Taiga Air Purification system is a modular wall hanging product that can be placed in several different areas around the home. The unique air purification system can come in several different sizes, from small, “picture-framed” size hangings to complete living walls that can cover entire wall surfaces. Unlike some living wall systems, the Biome Taiga requires no soil, as it is an entirely hydroponic growing system. Even though the system requires water to feed and nourish the roots of the plant system, it does not depend on a separate plumbing system. This lowers overall installation and maintenance costs while also lowering the possibility of system failures that could lead to water damage inside your house. The hydroponic system only requires watering once every two weeks in most homes and environments, making for relatively low maintenance.

biome taiga
Photo Credit: Biome

Each tile of the Biome Taiga comes with embedded LED lighting that allows the unique wall hanging to double as a space lighting system. When placed in a dark corner of the home, this air purifier can enliven a typically dark area with unique mood lighting. The Biome Taiga is also equipped with smart home technology, allowing homeowners to monitor their indoor air quality closely. The Biome Taiga will observe the carbon dioxide levels in your home and the accumulation of certain particulate matter that can negatively impact your health. The real-time data from the system can be sent to your phone or your email address so that you can closely follow the quality of the air inside your home.

In terms of effectiveness, the hydroponic plant-growing system offered by the Biome Taiga incorporates several activated carbon air filters that help the plants absorb air pollution up to 200 times faster than plants grown in regular soil. The activated carbon provides a growing medium for the plants, but unlike regular soil, the porous surface of the carbon allows for much more common air contaminants to be captured. By designing a plant-based air purification system that can pull contaminated air through the roots of the plants, the microbiome on the plant roots is activated. It allows the plants to much more effectively get rid of indoor air pollution.

biome wall
Photo Credit: Biome

The infrastructure for the Biome Taiga is made without any PVC or plastics, and the individual tiles hang simply on a z-clip that can easily be moved from one area of your home to another. The Taiga Biome is manufactured and distributed out of Oakland, California, and is dedicated to using only safe, healthy, and sustainable materials. The Biome Taiga has a registered Declare Label, a type of sustainability certification that allows consumers to determine where a product comes from, what it is made of, and where it goes at the end of its life. This transparency platform ensures that consumers can rest assured that this natural air purifier is made in the most sustainable way possible.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-08-17T20:15:43+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.