After several years of designing and building living walls for our clients, we realized at Good Earth Plant Company we needed another option. While it’s always our preference to bring Nature into workplaces, homes, and other indoor spaces with living plants, it’s not always possible due to lighting, location, or other challenges.
Then in 2015, Good Earth Plant Company installed our first moss wall. Moss walls provide most of the benefits of traditional living walls plus a few distinct advantages:
- Moss walls can thrive in any indoor setting.
- Moss walls don’t need any light or water, and minimum maintenance.
- Moss walls are incredibly lightweight for their size compared to the same size living walls.
- Moss walls are two to four inches deep, allowing much more flexibility in installation.
- Moss walls offer unlimited design options. They can be nearly any color or texture, mixed with other elements like wood or stone, and can be cut into shapes.
Compared to living walls, moss walls are nearly maintenance-free. They do require some attention to keep them clean and looking their best.
We get a lot of questions about moss walls. Recently, a concerned social media follower asked where we source the moss for our moss walls. She asked whether we harvest our moss from rainforests in Washington state, or anywhere else where it is growing wild. “If it was harvested from the wild, its removal caused massive collateral damage that will take decades to regrow, if it ever does.”
She then said if this wasn’t true to delete her post. I wouldn’t delete it. It’s an excellent question and I’m glad someone is concerned enough to ask.
Sustainability is an important aspect of our supply chain at Good Earth Plant Company.
We purposely source from sustainable providers. Much of our moss comes from Northern Europe, cultivated by multi-generational moss farmers. We source none of our moss from national forests or inappropriate wild locations.
Where does Good Earth Plant Company moss come from?
The raw materials used in Good Earth Plant Company moss walls are a combination of preserved mosses, lichens, and plants. The lichen used are grown in Norway, while most other mosses come from Italy, France, and Spain. Our preserved plants are sourced from a variety of European countries as well as parts of South America.
These natural materials are sourced exclusively from farms that have shown a strong commitment to sustainability and follow strict ecological practices. Lichen takes 20 years to grow. Our main supplier partners with farms that will not harvest more than five percent of a field at any time. Once harvested, fields are left to repopulate for at least 20 years before revisited.
We also occasionally use preserved plants. They are also grown in controlled environments with the intention to be harvested for preservation. No plant harvesting is done in nature, which limits the process’s environmental impact.
The preservation process for the mosses, lichens, and preserved plants is comprised of the use of natural oils and food dye, which allows them to maintain their texture, form, and flexibility for up to eight years for the plants, and eight or more years for the mosses.
Sustainable practices are no longer optional
If any of our clients are concerned, we can show our supplier’s ISO certification for the sustainable harvesting practices of our materials. We don’t ever mind being asked to verify that we’re doing business in a sustainable way. There are too many businesses that claim to act sustainably because they know how much consumers care. Younger generations are changing their lifestyles and habits because they know we are on the road to destroying our world if we don’t. As a result, many businesses claim to follow sustainable practices, but when it comes down to it, it’s just “greenwashing.”
We encourage more people to ask questions about sustainable practices. Companies need to demonstrate long-term responsibility toward their customers, suppliers, communities, and the environment. Where are they getting their supplies? What are they doing to reduce their carbon footprint? Are they making the everyday small changes necessary to reverse decades of abusing our environment?
Good Earth Plant Company partners with Mother Nature to help companies reach these goals. By adding plants in containers, living walls, and green roofs into urban environments, we can reduce and regulate indoor temperatures. This reduces the need for heating and cooling and can make it more efficient. Plants create biodiversity, help curb the urban heat island effect, and filter harmful particulate matter from the air and from stormwater before it reaches storm drains.
Benefits of sustainable building: green roofs and living walls
When we installed a 1,600 square foot “green roof” Native Plant Demonstration Garden on our administrative building in 2007, we saw the results right away. Our energy usage dropped 24 percent. Our roof provides habitat for insects, pollinators, and birds in the midst of an industrial zone. The life of our roof has been greatly extended into the next few decades, keeping thousands of pounds of old roof material from reaching the landfill.
Not everyone can install a green roof. But everyone can do more to reduce their energy use and contribute to a healthier planet. We’re here to enrich your life with nature, any way we can do it.
Good Earth Plant Company posts our Sustainability Statement on our website. We hope more people will read it – and hold us to it. Including those tough questions on our social media!