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Title:
VERTICAL GREENING MODULE, VERTICAL GREENING SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING A VERTICAL GREENING MODULE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/149759
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a vertical greening module and a vertical greening system for the arrangement of plants and a method for manufacturing a vertical greening module. A vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants is provided. In one alternative it comprises a back wall (12), at least one support element (16), which is positioned or positionable in a distance to said back wall (12), and a plant holding device (20). Said back wall (12) comprises a front surface (30) facing towards said support element (16). Said plant holding device (20) is supported or supportable on said at least one support element (16). It is furthermore arranged or arrangeable between said back wall (12) and said support element (16) in such a way that it forms a pocket (22) for holding at least one plant. In another alternative, said vertical greening module comprises at least one side wall (14), in particular two side walls (14), for holding at least one support element (16), wherein said side wall (14) comprises a fixing section (15) for fixing said side wall to a front surface (30) of an external structure, e.g. a wall. It further comprising said at least one support element (16), which is held or holdable by said side wall (14), and a plant holding device (20), wherein said plant holding device (20) is supported or supportable on said at least one support element (16), and said plant holding device (20) is arranged or arrangeable between said support element (16) and said external structure in such a way that it forms a pocket (22) for holding at least one plant. Said plant holding device (20) is manufactured from a material which is permeable to water.

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Inventors:
GESSLER, Thomas Richard (Friesenstraße 15, Berlin, 10965, DE)
Application Number:
EP2018/053342
Publication Date:
August 23, 2018
Filing Date:
February 09, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
VERTICALGREENDESIGN GMBH (Friesenstrasse 15, Berlin, 10965, DE)
International Classes:
A01G9/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012034651A12012-03-22
Foreign References:
US20110059518A12011-03-10
CN104855165A2015-08-26
EP2875720A12015-05-27
EP2946655A12015-11-25
EP2702863A12014-03-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOLSINGER, Jens (Schulz Junghans Patentanwälte PartGmbB, Großbeerenstraße 71, Berlin, 10963, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants, comprising a back wall (12), at least one support element (16), which is positioned in a distance to said back wall (12), and a plant holding device (20), wherein said back wall (12) comprises a front surface (30) facing towards said support element (16), wherein said plant holding device (20) is supported on said at least one support element (16), and said plant holding device (20) is arranged between said back wall (12) and said support element (16) in such a way that it forms a pocket (22) between said back wall (12) and said support element (16) for holding at least one plant,

characterized in that said plant holding device (20) is manufactured from a material which is permeable to water, wherein said vertical greening module (10) comprises at least one side wall (14), in particular two side walls (14), said at least one side wall (14) being firmly connected to said back wall (12) and configured for holding said at least one support element (16). 2. The vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants according to claim 1 , characterized in that said vertical greening module (10) comprises at least two of said support elements (16), wherein said pocket (22) is arranged at least partially between said at least two support elements (16).

3. The vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants according to one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said plant holding device (20) is configured and arranged for bearing the load of said plant and/or a quantity of growth medium.

4. The vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said vertical greening module (10) comprises at least one support element (16) which is bar-shaped or rod-shaped and, in particular, extends essentially parallel to said front surface (30) of said back wall

(12).

5. The vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one side wall (14) has at least one recess (17) into which said support element (16) can be at least partially inserted for the purpose of fixing said support element (16) to said side wall (14), wherein in particular said recess (17) defines a holding position in which said support element (16) can be held by gravity during use as intended.

6. The vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said plant holding device (20) is manufactured from a textile, in particular a nonwoven.

7. The vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said vertical greening module (10) comprises a plurality of support elements (16), wherein said plant holding device (20) is supported on said plurality of support elements (16), and said plant holding device (20) is arranged between the front surface (30) of said back wall (12) and said plurality of support elements (16) in such a way that it forms a plurality of pockets (22) each of which is at least partly positioned between two adjacent support elements (16), wherein in particular said plurality of support elements (16) is arranged in a row.

8. The vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one support element (16) and said plant holding device (20) are configured in such a way that the formed pocket (22), in particular each formed pocket (22), contacts the front surface (30) of said back wall (12) during use as intended.

9. The vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said vertical greening module (10) comprises at least one spacer for positioning at least a part of said back wall (12) with a distance to an external structure onto which said back wall (12) is to be mounted, said spacer being in particular arranged on said back wall (12).

10. The vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants according to claim 9, characterized in that said at least one spacer is realized by a form element, in particular a bulge in the back wall, wherein in particular said spacer is configured for realizing a distance between 4 mm and 20 mm, more particularly between 7 mm and 12 mm, between said back wall (12) and said external structure.

1 1. The vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said vertical greening module (10) comprises in its lower section a guiding element (40) suitable for guiding a liquid running on said front surface (30) to an exterior element, said guiding element (40) being particularly arranged on said back wall ( 12) and/or on at least one side wall (14).

12. The vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants according to at least one of the preceding claims, characterized in that said vertical greening module (10) comprises at least one holding element (50) which is positioned between said support element (16) and the front surface (30) of said back wall (12) or the front surface of said external structure, wherein at least one section of said plant holding device (20) is positioned between said front surface (30) of said back wall (12) and said holding element (50) in such a way that said at least one section of said plant holding device

(20) is held by said at least one holding element (50).

13. A vertical greening module (10) for the arrangement of plants, comprising at least one support element (16), which is held by at least one side wall (14) in a distance to a front surface of an external structure, said at least one side wall (14), in particular two side walls (14), wherein said at least one side wall (14) comprises a fixing section

(15) for fixing said side wall (14) to said external structure, and a plant holding device (20), wherein said plant holding device (20) is supported on said at least one support element (16), and said plant holding device (20) is arranged between said support element (16) and said external structure in such a way that it forms a pocket (22) between said front surface of said external structure and said support element (16) for holding at least one plant, characterized in that said plant holding device (20) is manufactured from a material which is permeable to water.

14. A vertical greening system for the arrangement of plants, characterized in that said vertical greening system comprises at least two vertical greening modules (10) according to at least one of the claims 1-12, one of said vertical greening modules

(10) being arranged or arrangeable on top of the other, wherein the back walls (12) of said modules (10) are in fluid connection and, in particular, form a common plane.

15. The vertical greening system for the arrangement of plants according to claim 14, characterized in that said vertical greening system comprises a collection tank for collecting liquid, said collection tank being arranged below the undermost of said vertical greening modules (10) in such a way that at least a part of a liquid moving on the front surface (30) of the back wall (12) of said undermost vertical greening module (10) is guidable from said back wall (12) into said collection tank, in particular by means of said guiding element (40). 16. A Method for manufacturing a vertical greening module (10), comprising the steps of o Providing a pre-stage vertical greening module, comprising a back wall (12) and at least one support element (16) which is positioned in a distance to said back wall (12), Supporting a plant holding device (20) on said at least one support element (16) and arranging said plant holding device (20) between said back wall (12) and said support element (16) in such a way that said plant holding device (20) forms a pocket (22) between said back wall (12) and said support element (16) for holding at least one plant, wherein said plant holding device

(20) is manufactured from a material which is permeable to water.

Description:
Vertical greening module, vertical greening system and method for manufacturing a vertical greening module

The invention relates to a vertical greening module for the arrangement of plants, a vertical greening system for the arrangement of plants and a method for manufacturing a vertical greening module.

Vertical greening is the greening of walls or comparable structures in indoor and outdoor applications. It serves different purposes among which are air improvement, e.g. achieved through humidification, oxygenation, air cooling and particle removal, noise reduction, as well as esthetic purposes. For the arrangement of plants on said structures, different systems have been developed which have different features, characteristics and disadvantages.

Typically, plants are positioned in plant holding devices which are formed similar to known flowerpots and typically manufactured from plastics or metal. Often, each plant is to be placed in an individual container or compartment. Different systems aim at positioning these plant holding devices on vertical structures. Some systems include watering and/or fertilizing facilities for the facilitated and/or automated supply of arranged plants with water and/or fertilizer.

If watering facilities are included, they often comprise plant containers with an overflow to store an amount of water and pass excess water on to the containers arranged below. One the one hand, these systems frequently deal with waterlogging. If the containers comprise holes in the floor for the water to drain, it is common that the upper plant containers are too dry and the lower plant containers too wet. Vertical separation of such systems is often needed which is complex and expensive.

WO 2012 034 651 A1 describes a planting system for vertical installation which comprises a plurality of holes in which individual plants can be arranged. It further comprises a vegetation carrying layer made of a substrate which is positioned in front of a watering structure such that water and/or fertilizers reach the plants or their roots, respectively.

EP 2 946 655 A1 describes a device for vertical greening comprising a container filled with a growth medium, a water reservoir and a watering means, which can be e.g. an organic or inorganic fiber. Said watering means at least partially surrounds said growth medium and connects said water reservoir to said growth medium such that capillary effects feed water from said reservoir to said growth medium for watering the plants. The container has a complex geometry and is configured to engage with a stackable basic element in a reversible manner.

Another stackable system is known from EP 2 702 863 A1. It comprises at least two vertically positionable plant containers shaped as half shells which are connected to a back wall. The upper container comprises a floor with a recess and a plurality of openings for draining excess water which are arranged in an area not taken up by the recess.

Typical systems for vertical greening require large amounts of space, are complex to plant and to maintain and do not succeed in equally and consistently watering plants in all positions.

The problem to be solved is to provide a vertical greening module for the arrangement of plants, a vertical greening system for the arrangement of plants and a method for manufacturing a vertical greening module which are suitable to achieve vertical greening in a simple and cost-effective way while overcoming the known disadvantages.

The problem is solved by the vertical greening module for the arrangement of plants as claimed in claim 1 , by the vertical greening system for the arrangement of plants as claimed in claim 13 and by the method for manufacturing a vertical greening module as claimed in claim 15. Embodiments of the vertical greening module are described in dependent claims 2- 12, and an embodiment of the vertical greening system is described in claim 14.

A first aspect of the invention is a vertical greening module for the arrangement of plants. In one alternative, it comprises a back wall, at least one support element, which is positioned in a distance to said back wall, and a plant holding device. Said back wall comprises a front surface facing towards said support element. The plant holding device is supported on said at least one support element. It is furthermore arranged between said back wall and said support element in such a way that it forms a pocket for holding at least one plant. Said pocket is in particular arranged between said back wall and said support element.

In another alternative, said vertical greening module comprises at least one support element, which is held or holdable by at least one side wall in a distance to a front surface of an external structure. It further comprises said at least one side wall, in particular two side walls, wherein said at least one side wall comprises a fixing section for fixing said side wall to said external structure, in particular to its front surface. Said module furthermore comprises a plant holding device, wherein said plant holding device is supported or supportable on said at least one support element. Said plant holding device is arranged or arrangeable between said support element and said external structure in such a way that it forms a pocket for holding at least one plant.

In either alternative, said plant holding device is manufactured from a material which is permeable to water. All embodiments can be combined with either alternative of said vertical greening module.

The front surface can, thus, be a part of the vertical greening module, namely of the back wall, as shown in figure 1 with reference sign 30. Alternatively, following alternative b) of claim 1 , the front surface may be a part of an external structure, e.g. a wall, onto which said side walls can be mounted. This depends on whether a back wall is part of the module. However, independently of its position on a part of the module, the front surface may fulfil the same purpose in the context of the invention. Those skilled in the art know which front surface is meant from the respective context. If an alignment or the like with relation to the front surface of said back wall is meant, e.g. a parallel alignment of the support elements, only said front surface of said back wall may be addressed. However, if said front surface is fixed to a wall and aligned in parallel to a front surface of said wall, it is as well aligned in parallel to said support elements.

Vertical greening in the context of the invention means greening of areas with at least one vertical component, in particular the greening of vertical walls. Holding a plant in particular means providing a space for roots of plants to be placed and to grow and, in particular, bearing the weight force of said plant. Vertical in particular means along the direction of gravity. Guiding in the context of the invention means influencing a flow direction and/or a flow velocity of at least parts of a flowing liquid. Moving of a liquid in the context of the invention in particular means flowing of said liquid. An exterior element may be any element onto which a liquid can be guided or dropped. It may be for example a container, a floor element, a pipe, a hose, the ground or another vertical greening module.

The distance between said front surface or said back wall and said support element is measured perpendicular to the front surface of the back wall or the external structure from said front surface to the support element or to the position in which said support element is to be arranged. Thus, the support element is arranged or arrangeable with respect to the back wall or the external structure such that a perpendicular dimension line for measuring said distance, as described, runs from the front surface to the support element or said position, respectively. In other words, said front surface faces towards said support element. Said support element is an independent component which is arranged entirely on one side of said back wall, facing its front surface.

The plant holding device is in particular made of a flexible planar material. It may comprise at least two connection sections for connecting it to the back wall or the external structure and/or to the support element. The connection may be realized in an arbitrary way: any kind of connection is possible which is suitable to transfer the respective part of the weight forces of the plant, a quantity of growth medium and/or the plant holding device. For example, it may be realized by a hook and loop fastener or by a clamping of the pocket. As a great part of said forces may be borne by the support element, the respective parts of said forces to be transferred by the connection sections may be comparatively small. In one embodiment, one plant holding device may be arranged. This is connected to the back wall or the external structure on or near its upper and lower edges while being supported in between by the support element. The pocket may be e.g. be positioned between the upper connection section and the support element. In case of more than one support elements arranged or arrangeable one above the other, one plant holding device may form more than one pockets, in particular between two respective adjacent support elements while being connected to the back wall or the external structure on its upper and lower edges, respectively.

In another embodiment, each pocket may be formed by an individual plant holding device which is connected to a support device in a first connection section positioned on its upper edge and to the back wall or the external structure in a second connection section in a lower position. The uppermost plant holding device may also be connected to the back wall or the external structure in a respective upper connection section.

The support element may be indirectly connected to the back wall, e.g. by support arms or side walls. It may alternatively be connected to an external structure. It is positioned or positionable in a distance to said back wall or the external structure, which means that it may be attachable and detachable in different positions or only in required positions. For example in the case of more than one support element, said support elements may be attachable in different positions and/or distances to each other in order to realize a versatile use of the vertical greening module. Thus, also the number of support elements can be chosen depending on the requirements, e.g. based on the quantity, size and/or height of the plants to be held.

A plant holding device in the context of the invention can be any device suitable for holding at least one plant and/or a quantity of growth medium. The plant holding device may be attachable and detachable, e.g. for cleaning and/or maintenance purposes. It is configured to hold at least one plant and/or a quantity of growth medium. This space may be at least partly filled with the growth medium which may be soil, peat or any other natural and/or artificial medium suitable to contain plants and/or their roots. Said growth medium may be chosen according to its water storage capacities, so e.g. sand may be used for cactuses and perlite or peat may be used for ferns. Mixtures of different growth media are possible. Thus, each plant may be watered exactly according to its needs.

The plant holding device is supported or supportable on the support element. Thus, the support element is configured to take up at least parts of the weight force of the plant holding device including, if applicable, plants and/or growth medium. More than one support element may be arranged in order to bear the weight force. The pocket is in particular an open hollow space which is open towards the top during use as intended. It has particularly a cross section shaped as an arbitrary curve with a local minimum, e.g. in the shape of an arc or loop.

The front surface faces the support element when the support element is positioned in the distance to the back wall or the external structure. In the case that no support element is attached, the front surface faces the position to which the support element is attachable.

In one embodiment, a nonwoven textile mat is used as plant holding device. It can e.g. be placed loosely across multiple support elements and attached to the vertical greening module, e.g. to its back wall, and/or to the external structure by hook and loop fasteners. For example, hooked strips can be glued to the back wall and/or to the support elements. Conventional nonwoven textile mats are suitable to be fixed onto such hooks due to their material properties and without any additional loops. Thus, they can flexibly and easily be attached and removed, if necessary.

More than one plant holding device may be arranged, each plant holding device e.g. forming a pocket between two support elements. Thus, one support element may support more than one plant holding device.

The material of the plant holding device is permeable to water. Thus, the material itself has this property. In particular, it is not meant that an impermeable material is used which gains permeability by its shape, e.g. by arranged holes or openings.

Permeability to water means that water which is contained in the plant holding device can pass the material and permeate or percolate through said plant holding device. In one embodiment, the material is suitable to let at least one liter of water permeate through an area of 100 cm 2 of said material within one minute. In particular, the material is furthermore permeable to air in order to ventilate the roots of the plants and/or the growth medium.

In particular, back wall and support element are manufactured from a water resistant material such as metal, e.g. aluminum or stainless steel, or plastic, e.g. polystyrene or polypropylene. In particular, said side walls are manufactured from a water resistant material such as metal, e.g. aluminum or stainless steel, or plastic, e.g. polystyrene or polypropylene.

The vertical greening module according to the invention is simple and cost-effective. Due to its simplicity it can be installed and used by anyone. It consists of only few parts and has a low installation depth but still provides a great space for the roots. Through the use of a material which is permeable to water, waterlogging is effectively prevented, as excess water is enabled to leave the plant holding device in any position. The permeability to air improves the growth conditions. No vertical separation is necessary, even in systems with a great height. No professional maintenance is necessary, which is a major disadvantage of most commercial products. The module is sustainable as all materials can be suitable for re-use or recycling and can easily be repaired in case of damage or failure. The textile is easily replaceable.

The vertical greening module may be stackable and, thus, modularly expandable. It can be produced in a wide range of widths.

In one embodiment, the vertical greening module has a height of 20 cm to 120 cm, in particular of 30 cm to 90 cm. It may have a height of approximately 35 cm or approximately 50 cm. In one embodiment, the vertical greening module has a width of 20 cm to 120 cm, in particular 30 cm to 90 cm. It may e.g. have a width of approximately 35 cm or approximately 55 cm. For example, different sizes may be produced which are connectible and combinable, e.g. with respective heights of 35 cm and 50 cm and widths of 35 cm and 55 cm. In one embodiment, the vertical greening module has a depth of 5 cm to 30 cm, in particular 7 cm to 20 cm. It may have a width of approximately 8 cm to approximately 12 cm.

The side wall may be an arbitrarily shaped element or assembly which is suitable for holding said support element and for mounting it to said external structure. In particular, it may be shaped as a planar or laminar wall element, e.g. manufactured from sheet metal. It may laterally hold and/or border said support element.

A fixing section can be an arbitrary section or part of said side wall which is suitable for being fixed to said external structure and, thus, fixing the back wall to said external structure. Said fixing section can be a section of said side wall which is bent or angled with respect to another section of said wall such that it can be positioned and fixed parallel to said external structure.

The external structure can also be a back wall to which said side wall is to be mounted.

In one embodiment, the vertical greening module comprises at least two of said support elements. The pocket is arranged at least partially between said at least two support elements.

The pocket is in particular arranged between said two support elements and bulged between them by gravity. A plurality of plants may be arranged one beside the other.

In another embodiment, the plant holding device is configured and arranged for bearing the load of the plant and/or a quantity of growth medium. The plant holding device may delimit the plant and/or said growth medium from surrounding air.

Said plant holding device is in particular configured and arranged for bearing either the load of the plant or the load of the plant and the growth medium. In this embodiment, the plant holding device is configured to take up the weight force of said plant and/or said growth medium. This means that the weight force is borne by the material of the plant holding device which is supported by the support element.

It is, thus, not necessary to arrange the plant holding device in an additional container, pot or the like. In particular, the plant holding device forms an independent unit to receive plants and/or growth medium, delimitating or separating it from the surrounding air. This makes its construction even easier and lighter.

In a further embodiment, the vertical greening module comprises at least one support element which is bar-shaped or rod-shaped and, in particular, extends essentially parallel to said front surface of said back wall or to said front surface of said external structure. The vertical greening module may comprise at least two support elements.

The support element is an elongated element with an arbitrary cross section, it is in particular a metal bar. In case of more than one support element, they all may have the same distance to the back wall and run in parallel. The plant holding device may be supported in parts on two support elements, respectively.

As the support elements may be detachable and attachable, in particular in different positions, the size of the plant holding devices and, thus, the size usable for the plants or roots is adjustable in order to meet the requirements of the plants to be positioned.

In yet another embodiment, the vertical greening module comprises at least one side wall and in particular two side walls. The at least one side wall is firmly connected to the back wall and configured for holding the at least one support element.

Two side walls may be welded on the side portions of the back wall or formed in one piece with the back wall, in particular in a water-proof connection. Any side wall may run along an essentially vertical direction in parallel during use as intended. It holds the support elements and may connect them firmly to the back wall, if applicable, or to the external structure. In particular, they extend away from the front surface in a right angle as seen in a working direction of the gravity during use as intended. The side walls may be configured to enable detaching and attaching of different support elements and/or of support elements in different positions.

The back wall provides a water-proof base for the vertical greening module, thus no sealing is necessary. In combination with the side walls it is completely water-proof and, thus, safe in operation.

In another embodiment said at least one side wall has at least one recess into which said support element can be at least partially inserted for the purpose of fixing said support element to said side wall, wherein in particular said recess defines a holding position in which said support element can be held by gravity during use as intended.

During insertion of said support element into said recess, it is to be passed through an intermediate position before it arrives at said holding position. Typically, during use as intended, said holding position is positioned lower than said intermediate position and bordered by the side wall's material. In this way, the support element can be hold by gravity in its holding position. There is, thus, a positive locking along the working direction of gravity.

Said recess may be shaped in such a way that, during insertion of said support element and/or in its resting position, it allows for an essentially parallel position of said support element with respect to a plane defined by the external structure to which the vertical greening module is to be mounted. Typically, in this position, said side walls are aligned essentially perpendicular to said plane and to said support element.

The recess is typically open towards a side, in particular a side which is positioned opposite to the back wall or the fixing section. It may comprises an inclination angle between 20° and 85°, in particular between 26° and 55° and in one example between 32° and 45° so that the support element can be inserted in a downward movement to reach a self-stabilizing position,

Fixing can comprise a positive and/or a non-positive locking of said support element to said side wall along at least one direction in space. Further elements and/or devices may be used for said fixing.

For example, said support element may have a rod-like shape which is held by two side walls. It extends beyond said side walls, thus protruding from said side walls in outward axial direction. Suitable protrusions, e.g. sleeves, may be positioned and fixed on said support element in at least one position which is axially adjacent to a side wall in order to achieve a positive locking of said support element and said side wall along the respective direction.

Typically, each side wall comprises a multitude of recesses in corresponding positions such that a plurality of support elements can be held, wherein each support element is typically to be held in at least two recesses.

This allows for the flexible and variable use of said vertical greening module. The number and distances of said support elements can be chosen according to the requirements and any modification is easily possible.

In one embodiment, the plant holding device is manufactured from a textile, in particular a nonwoven. A textile is a flexible material consisting of a network of fibres which may be natural, artificial or a combination of both. It may be formed by weaving, knitting, crocheting, knotting and/or felting, so the fibres are arranged in an ordered or non-ordered structure.

An essentially planar flexible material may be used, which may be a nonwoven textile or nonwoven fabric. In particular, a nonwoven fabric such as filter fleece or watering fleece, also known as irrigation mat, is used. This material is water-absorbent, which is enhanced by capillary action, and able to store water so it offers a broad range of advantages. It may be manufactured from polyethylene or from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) such as from recycled PET bottles.

The textile is lightweight and sustainable. The described textiles are breathable and permeable to water, which improves root health and plant growth.

For equipping the module with the textile and forming said pockets, said textile may be connected in an upper connection section, as described, and conducted over the support elements for forming said pocket or pockets. The pocket size or sizes may be chosen according to the respective requirements. The excess textile may be cut away before connecting its lower edge to the module, e.g. said back wall.

In particular, textile and support elements are configured to enable the textile to be removed from the support elements. Thus, in case that it needs to be changed, e.g. in case of a contamination, it can be removed from the metal parts of the vertical greening module without major effort. It can be replaced or washed in any conventional household washing machine to be reused. Thus, maintenance is very easy and a sustainable solution is provided. Textile is furthermore an inexpensive material which can be cut to the desired sizes and used in a variety of ways to form said pockets. As beneficial bacteria may settle within the textile, fertilizing with organic and/or animal manures is possible. A change of plants is, however, possible without a change of the textile.

In yet another embodiment, the vertical greening module comprises a plurality of support elements. The plant holding device is supported on said plurality of support elements. It is arranged between said back wall, in particular its front surface, or the front surface of said external structure and said plurality of support elements in such a way that it forms a plurality of pockets. Each of said pockets is at least partly positioned between two adjacent support elements. In particular, said plurality of support elements is arranged in a row.

During use as intended, the pockets may be arranged one above the other, thus, in a vertical row. In particular, all support elements run in parallel and all have the same distance to the back wall. As described, they are particularly attached or attachable between the side walls. In particular, the pockets are at least partially positioned between two support elements and supported on at least the two support elements.

The at least partial positioning means that at least parts of said pocket are positioned between said two support elements. The support elements may be arranged one above the other during use as intended. As the pockets are bulged in downwards direction due to gravity, they may partially extend below the lower support element and, thus, be not entirely positioned between said two support elements.

The plants can be changed with minimum effort: The textile is removed and the formed pocket or pockets are no longer present. Thus, any plants and growth medium can easily be removed. The textile can be washed or replaced, as described. The other parts of the vertical greening module remain attached to the wall and can be cleaned easily. A complicated individual cleaning, as typical in the case of solid containers is not necessary.

In one embodiment, the at least one support element and the plant holding device are configured in such a way that the formed pocket, in particular each formed pocket, contacts said back wall, in particular its front surface, or the front surface of said external structure during use as intended.

In particular, the support element and the plant holding device are configured in such a way that said plant holding device, in particular each pocket, contacts the back wall when filled with at least one plant and/or growth medium and when the back wall is aligned in such a way that the direction of a surface normal of the front surface is either inclined, comprising at least a vertical component in an upwards direction, or horizontal. In other words, during use as intended, the module is aligned either vertically or inclined with the front surface showing in an upwards direction, so that water running on the front surface can flow down. Besides, at least one plant is positioned within the pocket.

The horizontal or inclined position of the surface normal describes the positions in which water is enabled to flow down the front surface of the back wall and, thus, to get into contact with the plant holding devices.

If the plant holding device forms a plurality of pockets, each of the pockets may be in contact with the front surface. The contacting area between pocket and front surface may be an elongated area with a rectangular shape which runs transverse.

By its contact to the back wall, the plant holding device is configured for easy watering: water can be led onto the front surface of the back wall, in particular in a position above the uppermost pocket or contacting area. It flows down on the surface. The permeable and absorbent textile material takes up the water in the contacting area with the help of capillary action and leads it to the root of the plant and/or to the growth medium. Thus, the plant gets as much water as needed. Excess water is not taken up at all or instantly drained by the textile material. A time-consuming and technically complicated watering of individual pots is not necessary. Furthermore, this process can be easily automated.

This embodiment leads to the advantages of equal and consistent water absorption. Thus, a needs-based watering is possible and very easy.

In yet another embodiment, the vertical greening module comprises at least one spacer for positioning at least a part of the back wall with a distance to an external structure onto which said back wall is to be mounted, said spacer being in particular arranged on said back wall. Said spacer may comprise or form an inclination angle for mounting the vertical greening module on differently aligned surfaces.

In another embodiment, the at least one spacer is realized by a form element, in particular a bulge in the back wall. In particular, the spacer is configured for realizing a distance between 4 mm and 20 mm, more particularly between 7 mm and 12 mm, between the back wall and the external structure.

In another embodiment, the back wall comprises a plurality of spacers which are realized by form elements, in particular bulges.

Said form elements may e.g. be realized as bulges which are mechanically formed in the back wall, in particular in a forming process. They may comprise holes for arranging fixing means such as screws to fix the vertical greening module to the external structure which may be a wall. Thus, a distance can be realized between the back wall and the wall onto which the vertical greening module is to be mounted, which leads to an aeration of the back surface of said back wall without additional elements. This guarantees that water droplets which may form due to the cool and/or humid front surface of said back wall by condensation do not get into contact with the structure onto which the back wall is to be mounted but rather flow downwards to be collected or drained. Thus, a moistening of said wall can be prevented. This makes installation of the vertical greening module easy and convenient while guaranteeing a dry wall.

In general, the back surface is the surface which faces away from the support element.

The distance may be greater than 5 mm, in particular greater than 8 mm. It is realized in at least one area of the back wall. In particular, the form elements are shaped in such a manner that an essentially vertical positioning of the vertical greening module and/or an essentially parallel positioning of the back wall to the external structure can be achieved.

In particular, mounting of the back wall to a wall is to be performed with using sealing means such as gaskets in order to prevent that moisture, e.g. applied during watering of plants, passes the back wall through the mounting holes and gets in contact with the wall. In another embodiment, the vertical greening module comprises in its lower section a guiding element suitable for guiding a liquid running on the front surface to an exterior element. Said guiding element is particularly arranged on the back wall and/or on at least one side wall.

Said lower section is defined with respect to the position of the vertical greening module during use as intended. For example it may be the lower edge of the back wall during use as intended. It can alternatively be the lower 10% to 30% of the height of the back wall, e.g. less than 20 cm. In particular, it is arranged below the contacting area of the undermost of the pockets with the back wall.

Said guiding element may be arranged on the back wall and/or at least one side wall, in particular on the back wall and both side walls. It may be shaped as a drip edge, thus allowing the liquid to drip or trickle down in a defined manner into an exterior element, e.g. a separate container for collecting excess water from watering plants. For example, it is arranged on the lower edge of the back wall and side walls during use as intended. It may have a constant cross section. It may alternatively be suitable for collecting and/or channeling said liquid.

Said guiding element is in particular suitable to further guide a liquid running on the back surface of the back wall to the exterior element. Thus, if condensate forms on said back surface, it can flow down and be collected as well as the liquid running on the front surface.

In one embodiment, the back wall and/or the at least one side wall comprises a connection element suitable for realizing a connection, in particular a water proof connection, to a back wall and/or to at least one side wall of another vertical greening module. This connection element may comprise the guiding element or be said guiding element, fulfilling both the function of the guiding element and the connection element.

For example, the guiding element and/or the connection element may be shaped like a Z- fold, e.g. with two flat or essentially right angles. This may lead to a lower edge of the back wall which is positioned towards the front direction out of the plane defined by the back wall and/or to a lower edge of the side walls which is positioned towards the inwards direction out of the respective plane defined by the respective side wall. This fold may be configured to fit the top of another vertical greening module which is to be positioned on top of the first vertical greening module while achieving a water-proof connection. Sealing means may be positioned between the vertical greening modules to further increase the water-proof connection but are not necessary in one embodiment, if the guiding element and connection element is correctly dimensioned. Thus, a safe and water-proof wall mounting and connection of vertical greening modules can be achieved.

In a further embodiment, the vertical greening module comprises at least one holding element which is positioned between the support element and said back wall, in particular its front surface, or the front surface of said external structure. At least one section of the plant holding device is positioned between said back wall, in particular its front surface, or said front surface of said external structure and the holding element in such a way that the at least one section of the plant holding device is held by the at least one holding element.

In particular, said holding element is arranged in the proximity of the back wall, e.g. within 1 -5 mm, in particular within 2-3 mm from said back wall, and suitable to hold the plant holding device at least in the proximity of said back wall. In one embodiment, said plant holding device is held in such a way bay the holding element that it contacts the back wall. The holding element stretches the pockets in an empty state.

The positioning between the support element and said back wall does not necessarily mean that said holding element has to be arranged at the same height as the support element. However, it may be arranged at the same or a similar height. The holding element may be bar-shaped or rod-shaped and/or be realized from the same material and/or in the same shape as the support element. In one embodiment, the distance between the holding element and the back wall approximately corresponds to the thickness of the plant holding device. Thus, the plant holding device is held to the back wall by means of said holding element.

This leads to the advantage that the formed pocket contacts the back wall even in an unfilled state. Thus, planting of plants and/or arranging of growth medium is facilitated.

In one embodiment, between each support element and the back wall, a holding element is arranged. Thus, every formed pocket contacts the back wall in an unfilled state.

In another embodiment, the vertical greening module comprises a collection tank for collecting liquid. Said collection tank is arranged in the lower portion of the vertical greening module or below the vertical greening module in such a way that at least a part of a liquid moving on the front surface its back wall is guidable from said back wall into the collection tank. This is in particular realized by means of the guiding element.

In yet another embodiment of the vertical greening module, it comprises a watering means for providing water on the upper part of the front surface of said back wall in order to drip or trickle down said front surface and be at least partially absorbed by said plant holding device contacting said front surface.

A second aspect of the invention is a vertical greening system for the arrangement of plants, characterized in that it comprises at least two vertical greening modules according to the invention. One of the vertical greening modules is arranged or arrangeable on top of the other, wherein the back walls of said modules are in fluid connection and, in particular, form a common plane. This means that a fluid flowing on the front surface of the upper module is enabled to flow further to the front surface of the lower module, in particular driven by gravity.

During use as intended, said common plane may be aligned in a direction comprising at least a vertical component, in particular an essentially vertical direction.

In this aspect of the invention, the vertical greening modules are combined, as described. They may comprise the connection element and/or the guiding element. In particular, both vertical greening modules are fixable or fixed to a wall on top of each other such that their back walls form a continuous surface.

This embodiment provides an easily stackable modular system for continuously covering wall surfaces with vertical greening modules. In particular, all vertical greening modules fit together and can be combined in any arrangement. As the system is expandable and the vertical greening modules can be manufactured in arbitrary sizes, all kinds of walls can be covered in a cost- efficient, easy and safe manner.

In particular, the undermost of said vertical greening modules of said system is one comprising a collection tank as described.

In another embodiment of the system, the system comprises a collection tank for collecting liquid. Said collection tank is arranged below the undermost of the vertical greening modules in such a way that at least a part of a liquid moving on the front surface of the back wall of the undermost vertical greening module is guidable from the back wall into the collection tank. This is in particular realized by means of the guiding element. Said tank may be configured to fit below the undermost vertical greening module.

The moving of a liquid is in particular caused by gravity and/or an existing movement or flow, e.g. provided by a pump.

The undermost vertical greening module may comprise a guiding element and/or a connection element. If it does not comprise a guiding element, the liquid may still be guided into the container by flowing or dropping from the lower edge directly or indirectly into the container. The other vertical greening modules may or may not comprise a guiding element and/or a connection element. The external element onto which the fluid may be guidable may be a vertical greening module positioned or positionable below the uppermost vertical greening module.

The collection tank may be configured to retain typical amounts of excess water as occurring during watering of plants and/or condensed humidity from any wall surface of the vertical greening module. It may furthermore be configured to store a defined liquid reserve, e.g. a water reserve. It may be connected to the water network and/or enable the addition of fertilizer into said water. In this embodiment, the collection tank may serve as the external element to which a liquid running on the front surface can be guided by the guiding element, if applicable.

In particular, the system further comprises a pump and a flow path such as a pipe or tube, wherein the pump and the flow path are arranged and configured in such a way that liquid contained in the collection tank can be pumped to a distant part of the back wall, in particular to a point on the front surface of the back wall. This enables it to flow down the front surface and be used for watering purposes as described.

A third aspect of the invention is a method for manufacturing a vertical greening module. It comprises the step of providing a pre-stage vertical greening module, comprising a) a back wall and at least one support element which is positioned in a distance to said back wall or b) at least one side wall, in particular two side walls, for holding at least one support element, wherein said side wall comprises a fixing section by means of which said side wall is fixed to a front surface of an external structure, e.g. a wall, and at least one support element which is held by said side wall. The method further comprises supporting a plant holding device on said at least one support element and arranging said plant holding device between said back wall or said external structure and said support element. This is performed in such a way that said plant holding device forms a pocket for holding at least one plant, wherein said plant holding device is manufactured from a material which is permeable to water.

The method is in particular suitable for manufacturing a vertical greening module according to the invention, in particular, pre-stage vertical greening module comprises at least one side wall, in particular two side walls, said at least one side wall being firmly connected to said back wall and configured for holding said at least one support element.

If the vertical greening module comprises a holding element, sections of the plant holding device are arranged between the back wall and the holding element in order to hold the plant holding device between the holding element and close to the back wall.

Another aspect of the invention is a method for cultivating plants. It comprises the steps of providing a vertical greening module for the arrangement of plants and/or a vertical greening system for the arrangement of plants. It further comprises arranging at least one plant within at least one of the plant holding devices, and watering the plant.

It may further comprise the step of positioning the module or at least one module of the system such that the back wall is aligned in such a way that the direction of a surface normal of the front surface is either inclined, comprising at least a vertical component in an upwards direction, or horizontal. This step is particularly to be performed before arranging and watering the plant.

In case of the system being provided, each of the back walls comprise the front surface. In particular, the vertical greening module or the system is mounted to a wall in order to prepare it for use as intended. Besides the plant, growth medium may be arranged within the plant holding device. Plants and growth medium may be arranged in all plant holding devices, e.g. in all pockets.

Additionally, a fertilizer may be applied, by directly applying it to the roots or by admixing it to the water for watering. Watering the plant may e.g. be performed by watering the growth medium, if applicable.

In one embodiment of the method for cultivating plants, the watering is performed by leading water onto the front surface, in particular in a position above the uppermost pocket. This can be realized with a pipe or hose positioned on an upper section of the back wall and having holes or slits to let out water.

This means that water is led between on the front surface in an upper position, so it flows down the front surface and thereby gets into contact with the pockets. The uppermost pocket is the pocket which is arranged in the highest position during use as intended. Thus, water contacts the plant holding device in the position of the pockets and can be absorbed by the material which is permeable to water, in particular by the textile. It transports as much water to the plants as required, as described, while impeding waterlogging.

This renders watering very easy and safe. Any risk of clogging as is typical for conventional vertical greening modules is prevented.

Another aspect of the invention is the use of a vertical greening module according to the invention or of a system according to the invention for the cultivation of plants.

The invention is further illustrated and characterized by the following figures that show an example from which further embodiments and advantages can be drawn. These figures are meant to illustrate the invention but not to limit its scope.

Figure 1 shows a perspective view of parts of one embodiment of a vertical greening module for the arrangement of plants according to the invention,

Figure 2 shows a cutaway perspective view of a plant holding device to be used in the vertical greening module of Figure 1 ,

Figure 3 shows a perspective view of the vertical greening module according to the invention as shown in Figure 1 including parts of the plant holding device from Figure 2,

Figure 4 shows a perspective view of a detail of parts of the vertical greening module from Figure 1 in front view, and Figure 5 shows a top view and a side view of a side wall of another embodiment of the vertical greening module according to the invention.

In Figure 1 parts of a module according to the invention are shown, namely a back wall 12 with two side walls 14 welded to it on the left and right edges of the back wall 12. Back wall 12 and side walls 14 are manufactured from stainless steel. Said side walls 14 run in parallel and form a right angle with said back wall 12. They each comprise a vertically aligned row of holes 18 for the arrangement of support elements (not shown here) which are positioned opposite to each other in corresponding height and depth positions with respect to the back wall. Said holes 18 allow for the firm and parallel attachment of a multitude of rod-shaped support elements in a row in a distance to said back wall 12.

Said back wall 12 comprises a front surface 30 facing the positions of the support elements to be attached. In their lower sections, namely on their lower edges, said back wall 12 and side walls 14 each comprise a guiding element 40 shaped as a drip edge, which is shown in detail in Figure 4.

Figure 2 shows a cutaway view of the support elements 16, realized as parallel rods arranged in a row, supporting the plant holding device 20, manufactured from a planar textile material which is permeable by water. Said plant holding device 20 bulges through gravity between said support elements 16 and forms pockets 22 which are shaped as loops. On both sides of the loops, contact zones 60 are visible, in which the front textile contacts the back textile. Each pocket 22 is suitable to hold a plurality of plants in a row. The side walls which, in this specific embodiment, are used to hold said support elements 16 and the back wall 12 are not shown here.

It can be seen that the pockets 22 comprise planar sections on their back sides which face away from the support elements 16. These are the contacting areas which are pushed in through the contact of the material of the plant holding device 20 with the front surface of the back wall.

Between each support element 16 and the position of the back wall (not shown), a holding element 50 is arranged for holding the respective sections of the plant holding device 20 close to the back wall. The holding elements are shown in a transparent manner for the purpose of clarity. They enable the formation of stable pockets 22 and the contact of each pocket 22 to the back wall even if no plants or growth medium is arranged within said pockets 22. They thus define the upper limits of the contacting areas between pocket 22 and front surface of the back wall. Said holding elements 50 are arranged in rows running parallel to the rows of said support elements 16. The holding elements 50 are parallel to each other and to the back wall. They are in the same height positions as the corresponding support elements 16.

In Figure 3, the completely assembled vertical greening module according 10 to the invention is shown. It becomes evident that the pockets 22 are formed through their positioning between said support elements 16 and said back wall 12 while being supported on said support elements 16. The side walls 14 hold the support elements 16.

The plant holding device 20, realized as planar textile element, is fixed to the front surface 30 of the back wall 12 in a transverse upper position near its upper edge. It is additionally fixed to a front element of the module in a transverse lower position its lower edge and the undermost support element 16. It is, however, not fixed to said support elements 16. Thus, the size of the pockets 22 can be varied by moving the textile element with respect to at least one support element 16. This is to be performed in particular prior to arranging plants or growth medium inside in order to adjust said sizes to the respective requirements.

The plant holding device 20 bears the load of any plants and/or growth medium to be arranged in said pockets 22 and delimits said plants and/or said growth medium from the surrounding air. The plants and/or growth medium which are present in said pockets 22 are not shown in figures 2 and 3. However, the respective figures show the shape of the pockets 22 as during use as intended. Besides, the vertical arrangement of the module, in particular of the back wall, enables it to be used as intended. The contact zones 60 from figure 2 are furthermore visible.

The guiding elements 40 shown in the lower parts of said back wall 12 and said side walls 14 are shown in detail in Fig. 4. Here, a lower left-hand part of said parts of the vertical greening module 10 from Figure 1 is shown in a front view. It can be seen that side wall 14 and back wall 12 both comprise a similar or identical guiding element 40. This drip edge comprises a Z-Fold 42 with two flat angles and also serves as connection element for connecting the respective walls to the respective walls of another module to be arranged below the shown module. In this way, a water-proof connection can be achieved.

In figure 5, a top view and a side view of a side wall 14 are shown. In this embodiment, two side walls 14 are to be mounted to an external structure which is in particular a water-proof planar and/or essentially vertically aligned wall. Each side wall 14 comprises a fixing section 15 which is a section that extends perpendicular with respect to the section for holding the support element. In this way it can be aligned and positioned in such a way that a plane defined by said fixing section 15 runs parallel to or is identical with a plane defined by the external structure. The fixing section 15 can thus abut the front surface of said external structure. As seen in top view, the side wall is L-shaped. The side view, shown below, in particular shows the alternative solution for fixing the support elements. Three recesses 17 are shown into which support elements can be inserted and, thus, fixed to said side wall. Each recess is open towards the edge of the side wall which is opposite to said fixing section, shown on the left, and is arranged in an inclination angle of about 38° with respect to said edge. It, thus, defines a self-stabilizing holding position in which said support element can be held by gravity in the shown and intended alignment. In other words, a positive locking at least along the working direction of gravity is realized.

A plurality of support element can be held in the shown recesses 17, wherein the number and distances of said support elements can be chosen according to the requirements. Any modification is easily possible.

List of reference signs vertical greening mod back wall

side wall

fixing section support element recess

hole

plant holding device pocket

front surface guiding element Z-fold

holding element contact zone