Mercedes-Benz's core values of "perfection, fascination and responsibility" exemplify the Best or Nothing vision. The recently erected Living Wall (green wall) displays the innovative BlueEFFICIENCY message of ‘green luxury’ and eco-friendliness in the heart of the V&A Waterfront at the Clock Tower precinct, in Cape Town.
This living wall advertisement provides Mercedes-Benz with an ideal opportunity of showcasing the BlueEFFICIENCY measures in the new-generation C-Class in a unique display of green foliage.
BlueEFFICIENCY measures include enhanced engine technology resulting in lower emissions. In some four-cylinder models of the C-Class, reduction in fuel consumption of up to 29 percent has been achieved. All the four-cylinder diesel C Class models are equipped with the ECO start/stop function as standard and this system further adds to the outstanding fuel savings on these models. All engine variants of the new-generation C-Class are BlueEFFICIENCY models, demonstrating that they are particularly efficient and environmentally friendly in their use of fuel. With a vehicle weight of only 1,480 kg, aerodynamic drag co-efficiency of 0,26 and various technical enhancements to further optimise engine technology, the C-Class is the BlueEFFICIENCY poster-child.
The Living Vertical Garden is a unique and commanding initiative, especially in light of the rapidly growing green consciousness world wide. There is a rising focus on sustainable living, responsible tourism, eco products and services, and green attractions. And the ‘Vertical Garden’ raises awareness while sending a powerful message of global environmental sustainability to a variety of influential audiences.Covering over 200 linear meters, and equalling a total of 500m², this is the first time in South Africa that construction site hoardings play host to vertical gardens on this scale. Third-party advertising has also been incorporated into the design and installation, resulting in a living, three-dimensional and impactful visual display.
The ‘green wall’ initiative is collaboration between local horticulturist experts, the V&A Waterfront, Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Big Boom Media.The ‘green wall’ comprises of a simple layer of irrigation cloth affixed to the hoarding boards. Pockets, cut into the cloth and containing only the minimum required amount of soil, provide a solid footing for plants to establish and grow from. The water-conducting irrigation cloth, manufactured from non-degradable deconstructed acrylic textiles, allows for plant roots to firmly spread through the fibres and to absorb water and nutrients.
The composition and functioning of the irrigation cloth can be compared to a layer of algae or moss covering forest rocks or tree trunks. “All the exchange between plant, water and atmosphere takes place through the irrigation cloth, rendering a soil-free solution and adding to the relative simple concept of vertical gardens.
The cloth is irrigated via a simple plastic tube incorporated into the top section of the material, and a diluted nutritive solution is added to the irrigation flow. Watering occurs three to five times daily for between one to three minutes, depending on the weather conditions and the stages of plant growth.
Plants were carefully selected based on their ability to withstand severe climate and environmental conditions. Proximity to the ocean, aptitude to sun and shade exposure, as well as the effects of construction had to be considered. The different species also had to bear the same growth characteristics and maintenance requirements. Water-wise, indigenous plants and succulents have been selected as far as possible due to their sturdy growth and natural resilience levels.
The long-term sustainability of these plants was also a key consideration. The vertical gardens will remain in this position for the next two years up until the conclusion of this development phase. Once this construction phase has concluded, the panels will be removed and the gardens will be repositioned elsewhere. These vertical gardens not only enhance the aesthetic qualities of the construction site, but also actively contribute to the improvement of the immediate environment. The leaf surfaces and irrigation cloth trap dust and pollutants emitted by nearby industries, vehicles and the construction process.
Once trapped, the dust is decomposed by water and micro-organisms into chemical elements that are absorbed by the plants. In addition, micro rubber fragments from tire wear on the roads along the hoardings are carried away in puddle spray and deposited on the lower sections of irrigation cloth.Water usage has been kept to a minimum. Depending on the plant types, weather conditions and time of year, a typical vertical garden requires between 0.5 to 3 litres of water per m² per day, which is low compared to watering requirements for parks and other gardens.
It has been almost four months since the first panels were installed, and so far there has been great success with plant growth. There has been very little water, soil and nutrient wastage, and wind and heat damage to cuttings and seedlings have been minimal.There is continuous and overwhelming public support for the green wall, and Mercedes-Benz is pleased with the outcome. The true value of the green hoarding lies in the fact that it is the first visible indication that this area will become a landmark resource-efficient and sustainable green precinct.