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Vertical Forest: The Highest Rising Forest in All of Italy

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There is a green high-rise in Milan, Italy, that is turning heads all around the world.

Green, in this case, means two things: not only is it eco-friendly but also literally green. This is thanks to 20,000 square meters (about 215,278 square feet) of trees, shrubs, climbing plants, and perennials that are spread along and up every floor of the two towers, one of which reaches 27 stories.

Specifically, it includes 700 trees; 5,000 strubs; and 15,000 climbers and perennials. Four years after completion, the average greenery per person is still quite impressive: 2 trees, 8 shrubs, and 40 other plants. (You can easily grow your own plants with seed paper.)

Appropriately named Vertical Forest, these apartments were developed by Italian architects Stefano Boeri, Gianandrea Barreca, and Giovanni La Varra of Stefano Boeri Architetti. The team describes the building as a “model for a sustainable residential building.”

Unsurprisingly, all of these plants eat up unwanted carbon dioxide, 30 metric tons a year to be exact (about 33 US tons, or 66,139 lbs), and produce around 20,000 kg of oxygen (about 44,092 lbs.) (Produce less carbon dioxide by ditching single-use plastic bags for reusable bags and backpacks.)

“This is a project for metropolitan reforestation that contributes to the regeneration of the environment and urban biodiversity, without the implication of expanding the city upon the territory. The vegetal system of the Vertical Forest creates a microclimate, producing humidity, absorbing carbon dioxide and dust particles, and producing oxygen.”

Stefano Boeri Architetti

To keep the forest growing includes 2 centralized monitoring stations 280 water control stations (one for each terrace) and regular maintenance checks; pruning happens six times a year—four from the inside and two on the outside.

The only downsides are the amount of water used to keep it lush and the cost to build it. The building uses 3,500 cubic meters of water a year (about 123,601 cubic feet), and it cost €55 million ($62,656,990.00). (You can waste less money on water with a reusable water bottle.)

The good news is that this isn’t Architetti’s only vertical forest. There are also buildings in Nanjing, China; the Netherlands; and other locations in Italy. To see more of his carbon dioxide absorbing projects, you can go to the firm’s website.

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