Japanese firm Kyocera is known for impressive eco-friendly innovations and endeavors, ranging from the development of a flexible OLED cell phone to the installation of Japan’s largest solar farm — but when it comes to their own offices, they turned to the beautifully lo-fi solution of growing edible green curtains along exterior walls. As the curtains produce vegetables for use in the company’s cafeteria, they also keep the buildings cool, reduce energy consumption, mitigate carbon emissions and provide a calming, shaded view for those working inside.
Image © Kyocera
The project to insulate and shade their office and manufacturing buildings began in 2006, as part of the company’s energy conservation and global warming prevention activities. After just a few years, Kyocera became home to over 8000 square feet of green curtains at 19 locations. The functional foliage is guided by netting, placed over the walls at an angle appropriate to its exposure to the sun.
With this simple, energy-saving version of urban farming, Kyocera grows cucumbers, peas, bean and goya — a bitter gourd which the company explains to be “rich in nutrients, [and] widely used as an ingredient for the prevention of fatigue in the hot summer months in Japan.” The foliage also lends itself to carbon mitigation, with Kyocera estimating that the green curtains will absorb 5981 lbs of CO2 each year.
As the project has gained in popularity and success, Kyocera has set up a website detailing the process, with a handy how-to guide for those who might want to grow some green curtains for themselves!