Malaga Airport goes green with vertical gardens

by Deborah Cater
Malaga airport has installed vertical gardens in the terminal
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MALAGA – Aena installed four vertical gardens with more than 10,000 plants in the Malaga airport terminal building to enhance the environmental quality and travellers’ wellbeing.

Four large green screens create the biggest ‘indoor park’ in Andalucia. Covering 400 square metres in total, there are more than 10,000 plants in the gardens.

The vertical gardens

Each vertical garden has a smart system which measures the degree of humidity and automatically injects water and fertiliser into the soil when needed. This limits waste and ensure the plants have all they need to thrive.

“The maintenance is totally automised. All that is needed is a check once a month to see how the plants are doing,” said Benthem, head of ACER Espacios Naturales, a company specialising in gardening which won the contract.  

More than 22 different species make up the compositions. They include alternanthera, caladium, cerastium, chamaedorea, chlorophytum, drosanthemum, euonimus, helxine, heuchera, hosta, lobularia, ophiopogon, pittosporum and tradescantia.

These are international, not native, species selected for their resistance. “They survive well in hostile environments, with little light and little maintenance, Benthem explained”

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In the first week of installation, the plants received special illumination to encourage growth. This is due to a lack of natural light.

What are the benefits of the gardens?

The total cost of the project was more than €200,000. The gardens are more than just a pretty feature. In fact, the objectives are many and include enhancing the wellbeing of travellers passing through the airport.

Studies suggest that plants have a calming effect on stressed people and a stimulating effect on the tired. Both types of travellers pass through airports.

There are also environmental benefits. Plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produce oxygen. They also act as cleaners, capturing dust, noxious substances and suspended particles while regulating humidity levels. This enhances respiration and health in general, particularly important during pandemic times.

The vertical gardens also act as heat, cold and noise buffers. They will naturally reduce the indoor temperature by up to 5 degrees in the summer. The plants also absorb sound waves and lower noise pollution.

All of this will make passing through Málaga airport a more pleasurable experience.

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