Each vertical garden is given a unique design and selection of species. The composition of plants takes in consideration the specific environment where it will be built, such as the local- and micro climate, sun exposure and the surrounding context. The aim is to create a one of a kind and site-specific garden that stands beautiful through all the seasons of the year.
A well-executed design is also a way to minimize the future maintenance demand of the garden. A plant's growth habit, size and behavior on a vertical surface is important knowledge for making the right combination of species, in order to keep the competition between plants at a healthy level. Choosing the right plant for the right place makes sense for any garden, but maybe even more so in a vertical garden.
As ornamental objects, not only can the beauty of plants be fascinating, but also the fact that they are alive and always changing. Much work is put into the aesthetic result of the gardens, and part of that is to develop this attracting sensation of life and unpredictability that plants bring within themselves. For the overall design a lot of inspiration is taken from natural shapes and environments where these type of plants have their origin, and in the smaller scale each species is given a context where it can develop it's characteristics. All together creating a unique garden with much content, surprise and variation.
A vertical garden can be installed in almost any location and as a living material, the potential of integrating plants in our urban environments is interesting. Places never though of as possible could be inhabited by plants, like subway stations or other intensely frequented places where horizontal space is difficult to spare.
The supporting structure consists of a 10 mm PVC-board mounted on a stud work. The solid PVC-board is sealed at joints, and an air gap between the board and the wall behind assure a double protection against moisture. On top of the board, a multi-layered, synthetic and highly absorbent felt surface is attached. It gives an even distribution of water over the surface and provides mechanical support for the plants as they grow attached to the felt. A cut is made in the outer felt layer and the plants inserted in between. As a soilless surface, the construction is very light – less than 25 kg/m2. Including plants, but depending of what species that are used, the average surface depth is increased with 200-500 mm.
The irrigation system is designed to minimize water consumption. It consists of an automation-unit with equipment for control of nutrient injection and irrigation cycles. When a surface has a variation of sun exposures, the irrigation is divided into segments in order to program it specifically for each part. Within the multi-layered felt surface a drip-tube is integrated. Water consumption varies with heat and sun exposure, but compared to normal green spaces or a lawn, the consumption is normally lower. It averages between 2-5 l/m2/day.
Direct sunlight can deliver over 100.000 lux whereas the average light level in an office is around 300-500 lux. Even if the least light demanding species are used, artificial light is normally necessary indoor. A few species will stay fine at 900 lux, but a slightly increased level at some parts of the surface will broaden the variation of species that can be used. An artificially illuminated surface has shifting light levels, due to the fact that light reduces with the square of the distance from the light source. Some areas might have 3.000 lux and others 900 lux. The plant design is made with this in mind, taking advantage of the higher levels for more demanding and interesting species.
Not only is artificial light necessary for the plants survival and growth, but it also makes the garden more beautiful as it brings out colors and textures of flowers and leaves. A suitable light source is the metal halide. It produces the essential wave-lengths that plants need and is an energy-saving and cost-efficient alternative. Through an initial computer simulation, a study is made to calculate the required number and model of armatures. Finally, the levels are measured on location to fine-tune the setup.
As the supply of the basic needs of plants (light, water and nutrients) are automated, not only does this make for unusually healthy plants - it highly reduces maintenance demand and makes the vertical garden possible to use on high buildings or other places where accessibility is limited.
The garden is designed so that the plants´ natural growth habit is given space, and for different species to have a dynamic co-habitat with adjacent species. During a year, the garden will profit from pruning approximately 1-2 times per year. All plants that are used are perennial, but as the years go by, a few will have to be replaced. These maintenance measures will ensure a long term lush and attractive garden.
The initial work includes studies of the local climate and the future location to see what site specific factors there are to consider. This will give the limits for what plants that may be used and is important information in the following survey of nursery stock from those nurseries, foreign or local, that can deliver to the location.
As the general conditions are defined, the design plan is developed in order to attain the desired character. It is during the design phase that the final selection of species is made, based on physical conditions, aesthetic preferences and availability.
At the construction site, the first step is to set up the supporting structure and make necessary preparations for the irrigation. When the technical system is completed with the mounting of the felt and the integrated drip-tube - the surface is ready for plantation. During the whole process a dialogue is kept with the architect and client in order to achieve the desired result.
The company was started by Michael Hellgren, a Swedish landscape architect with studies at SLU in Uppsala, Sweden and École d’architecture et de paysage de Bordeaux, France.
The work with vertical gardens began with the degree thesis Vegetation on vertical surfaces in indoor environments — A model for a technical solution, where the technique, developed by Frenchman Patrick Blanc, was studied. The first vertical garden in Sweden was built in 2004. Since then, projects have been carried out in several European countries.
No matter how small a property you live on, you can develop your green thumb by building a vertical garden. With the demand for gardens in densely populated cities, garden centers and manufacturers have created kits that enable you to grow upward, if you can't grow outward. Read the tips listed below and learn about how you can build a vertical garden.
It is rather unfair (although somehow expected) that whenever something is lost, stolen or misplaced that it is the Room attendant on who the finger is pointed! After all they are in a vulnerable position, working alone in a guest room surrounded by guest items. But we are not the only ones entering the rooms and things aren’t always missing.
There are a number of things you can do to help avoid suspicion, the simplest and most effective is to work your team in pairs and continually rotate these pairs to avoid collusion. This has a disadvantage that you now have two suspects rather than one. Another is to train your team to be vigilant when in the room, make a mental note of what is lying around so when asked they can confirm the presence or not of an item. Also get your floor supervisors trained in proper search methods, so when it is highlighted that something is missing they make a complete and thorough search of the room, in many cases items are found.
Most hotels now have auditable locks and CCTV in corridor, so team entering and leaving rooms are clocked and the door confirms who when they have entered. It is worth periodically checking the lock audits to see if there is unnecessary returning to rooms or unneeded visits from bell desk, room service and mini bar staff…repeated visits to rooms may throw up some interesting results.
There has been much talk about thieves making use of clever tech and hacking to override electronic locks… ( ) check the web and your supplier to ensure yours are safe and train your staff to approach and check suspicious people hovering on guests floors.
Have a reward/recognition system for team that hand in lost and found or highlight guest valuables lying around…follow your hotels procedure to secure them. Often mention at the team briefing or a letter for their file is sufficient. Personally I feel that the policy of letting finders keep the Lost and Found after the specified storage time encourages theft and loss of guest items. Lost and Found should be disposed of by a draw of Lots.
Ensure your teams are trained in regard to opportunist thieves that grab items when passing open doors or distract the attendant whilst in the room. I don’t think any member of staff these days with all the security concerns would open the door of a room for an unidentified guest…that’s a thing of the past.
Keep pockets of uniforms small and few, ensure no personal items are taken to floors when working, have a good spot checking system for laundry, rubbish and karts.
If your staff is being questioned by the Security; ensure that a senior team member sits in on the discussion, it is important for your team to know that you are protective of them.
But most of all make your team aware of their vulnerability that because of their work suspicion will fall on them; the deterrent of what will happen if caught is often the best security of all.
If you have all the best practices in place then it much harder to blame it on the maid!
Watch this video which clearly shows where our room attendants and front office teams needs to follow procedures of security in guest rooms
KEEPING BEDBUGS OUT OF YOUR GUEST ROOMS
A bed bug sighting can ruin not only a hotel stay but a guest’s future interaction with a brand. Despite this, these critters are difficult to defend against as they ride into your property aboard guests and unwitting employees.
“Hotels and motels can’t pat down guests in the corner or shake down their luggage, so we have to have their employees on the front line with their eyes open and capable of recognizing problems,” said Phil Pierce, technical services manager and entomologist for Western Pest Services. “Educated housekeeping and maintenance staff are the workers most likely to discover the bed bug problems initially, and are the facility’s first line of defense.”
Though the bed bug is crafty in its ability to find hiding spots in the most inhospitable of locations, their need to conserve energy causes them to stick near places that guests routinely visit in a hotel room. For this reason, a five-foot radius around areas such as the bed and couch should be searched thoroughly, including the mattress, box spring, the bed frame, headboard, end tables and items on the end tables such as lamps, electrical outlets and alarm clocks.
“If you catch these pests early enough in concentrated areas, you can use heat or cold to kill them,” said Greg Baumann, VP of training and technical services at Orkin. “A pesticide product should also be applied around the perimeter of the room, but heat treatments are non-invasive. Steam is best for the seams of mattresses, but it won’t penetrate deep into a surface like a heat treatment will.”
Frequent vacuuming can also assist in the removal of accessible bed bugs, though the eggs of these creatures are secured to a surface using a glue-like substance, and in order to be vacuumed a scraper-like accessory must be used first. Similarly, sealing all cracks and crevices in a room can prevent bed bugs from finding areas to hide.
Susan Jones, associate professor at the department of entomology for Rothenbuhler Research Lab, recommends sealing the crevices in guestroom headboards, as that is a prime location for bed bugs to hide. “In terms of future furnishings designed for the guestroom, we have to envision furnishings that make it easier to do an inspection and offer less bed bug hiding places,” Jones said. “A balance between good design and some level of comfort.”
Providing crisp, clean sheets and linens for guests is something many hotels take pride in. A night in a hotel is defined by the quality of the sleeping experience, and preserving the sheets used by guests is important to hotels not just for guest comfort, but to protect the return on investment behind the sheets’ purchase. By ensuring that sheets are being washed properly and not excessively, a hotel can extend the life of its laundry while reducing its environmental and monetary expenditures.
“We did a map of our laundry process, brought in attendants and told them to help us organize it,” said Scott Bastin, director of six sigma for the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. “When it makes sense to the people working your machines, everything goes much faster. Because of the way we have our laundry organized we were able to reduce the time we spend doing laundry by 30 percent. Electricity, steam, gas—it all gets cut down.”
The Dallas hotel recently switched flags from an Adam’s Mark to a Sheraton, and was forced to replace all of its branded linens. After that, the hotel began experimenting with ways to preserve its linens. “You have to try and help the environment and also your guests by using chemicals that aren’t as harsh,” Bastin said. “Using those chemicals breaks down the material faster, so other hotels should investigate the kind of chemicals that are out there because it is very important.”
Another hotel that reevaluated the chemicals used in its laundry processes is the Sofitel New York. The hotel partnered with the Diversey chemical company to find alternatives to what they were previously using, and found success in preserving its linens for a longer period.
“After partnering with Diversey we have technicians coming to our property every week to see that the chemicals we have are being used properly,” said Florian Schultz, hotel manager for the Sofitel New York. “Even with reduced chemical use, we don’t use chlorine any more. Additionally, we have been receptive to ideas from guests. We get customers every once in a while that give us good ideas on how to go green.”
Sustainable programs start with staff
Sustainability trends are not limited to hotels, with guests frequently trying to live their lives in a sustainable manner as well. Because of this, guests can sometimes be receptive to changes in hotel operations that could benefit the environment.
“As a business hotel, our average guest stay is two-and-a-half days,” said Florian Schultz, hotel manager for the Sofitel New York. “The guest usually doesn’t mind having the same linen for that time, but they often want bathroom towels replaced on a daily basis. We place carts in the rooms and inform our guests that if they place the cart on the bed we will change the linens, and if they hang their towels up we will refrain from washing them.”
This small reprieve from the washing machines resulted in a 33-percent reduction in chemical usage, labor and energy costs for the New York property. What makes this system work best is the training given to hotel staff that assist in the process.
“If the front-desk agent can communicate our laundry policy with the guest to avoid confusion and let them know the program is available, it is best,” Schultz said. “The guest has to be aware, and if they aren’t they may be upset if they have the same linens at the end of the day. Finding a way to communicate that is a skill.”
Additional training was necessary for housekeepers to redo a bed in a way that is appealing even though it was used the night before. “Associates shouldn’t be afraid to try new things,” said Scott Bastin of the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. “Make sure that your associates have input when trying new things, though. These are the people that handle these duties every day. You want them to be your eyes and ears, and you want to use what they give you.”
Reducing water usage
Water usage is a serious concern for large hotels running laundry services seven days a week. One solution to this problem is to keep washers running steadily so that they can be turned off as soon as the process finishes.
“Having enough storage space and manpower on hand to be attentive to your [washing] machines is the backbone to keeping things running smoothly,” said Scott Bastin of the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.
Finding ways to speed up the laundry process in order to keep the washers off is one strategy, but another is to reuse water from previous washes to reduce waste.
“Our washers use gray water, and it results in a 75-percent reduction in water usage,” Bastin said.
Sometimes, efficiency and speed can mean the difference between one wash and several based on the severity of stained linens, with stains being more easily removed from a linen if tended to promptly.
“Washing stained linens immediately can prevent them from needing more washes, or from being replaced entirely,” said Florian Schultz, hotel manager for the Sofitel New York. “For a bed linen you normally get around 60 washes out of it before it needs to be replaced, but by lowering the frequency that you have to use those washes we are able to reduce the cost of replacing and cleaning the linen.”