In collaboration with his wife and business partner, Jock Gammon founded Junglefy in 2009 to satisfy a growing need in the market for living infrastructure. Since then, he has employed close to 20 people to install and maintain green roofs, walls, facades and podiums within the high-rise residential and commercial sectors of New South Wales, helping to further the initiative for a greener Australia in the coming years.
Junglefy provides multiple services including construction, installation and maintenance for green roofs, green walls and facades as well as technical design and consultancy services for architects, landscape architects or any other professional in the property sector who want to create unique living infrastructure projects.
They have also designed their own green wall system and recently launched their award winning Breathing Wall. These have been designed using non-toxic, modular materials that is cost-effective to install and easy to maintain. The Breathing Wall recently won the Architecture & Design Green Building Product award and was also nominated as a finalist for both the Green Globe Awards (NSW Office of Environment & Heritage) and Banksia Smart Award. Backed by scientific research by UTS scientists the Junglefy Breathing Wall has been proven to accelerate the removal of harmful pollutants including carbon dioxide (CO2), particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
In late 2015, they established their own nursery to be able to control the quality and quantity of plants required to install their green walls. According to Jock “most of the projects Junglefy work on are bespoke and require a high level of skill. They also have very short installation timelines to fit in with the overall construction process and therefore having the right amount of plant stock was becoming more and more important to us and our clients.”
Through the growth of their business, Junglefy has been able to bring thousands of plants into the urban environment each year, according to Gammon; this helps reduce the effects of urban heat islands within major cities, while also providing wildlife corridors, biodiversity, stormwater management, and an overall improvement in city aesthetic. The company has also implemented an internal sustainability initiative within their daily operations. “In our nursery facility we use recycled dam water for all of our watering, and we run all of our pumps off solar panel systems,” he says. “We’re off the grid, so to speak, in that nursery environment. It is our Breathing Wall, however, that takes living infrastructure to the next level, actively cleaning and filtering the air of harmful pollutants faster than any other plant based system on the market.”
Junglefy is also an avid supporter of Australia’s 202020 Vision initiative, as Gammon and his team identify with the need to bring more greenery to the country’s urban environment. “202020 is obviously an element with parks and gardens, but they also factor in the use of green roofs, green walls and green facades,” he says. “One thing we say is that we’d like to see cities within parks rather than parks within cities, so it is important that we do go forward and have much more greenery. I think 20 percent should be a good starting point, but we should certainly be looking to go well beyond that. What we see within the industry is acceptance of plants as a necessary piece of infrastructure within our cities, and I think we’re certainly going to see more of it into the future – especially with the effects of climate change.”
Promoting living infrastructure is a team effort, and Junglefy places a strong emphasis on relationships and collaborations as a result. According to Gammon, a steady level of understanding from all parties is key to a successful project. “It’s important that everyone understands each other – from design through to installation, construction and especially the importance of maintenance to ensure the plants grow and thrive in our urban environment” he says. “In terms of industry associations, they’re also important players, and we’re involved in a number of them. They certainly help to advance the industry and this new space that is living infrastructure.”
A downturn in the economy is one of the major issues Gammon feels may affect the future of the industry, as it could also result in a downturn in the construction industry as well. Lack of dedication and maintenance is also a prime concern as living infrastructure becomes more popular within the urban environment. “Other concerns within the industry are the new players coming into the market looking for an opportunity to make a quick buck, but not understanding the challenges associated with growing plants in difficult places, and really not being authentic about why they’re doing it – a lack of authenticity and a lack of truth with what they do.”
The pursuit of innovation accompanies Junglefy’s dedication to authenticity within the industry. Research and development plays a key part in their daily practices, as they strive to create and improve upon both scientifically functional and aesthetically pleasing designs. “We’re continuing a research piece that we’ve been doing for the last two years with the University of Technology Sydney around green walls that can accelerate air filtration and removal of pollutants,” says Gammon. “We pass dirty air through the back of our green wall system, and an activated fan system cleans the air – we call it our Breathing Wall. We’ve got a big installation in Lendlease’s global head office in Barangaroo, but what is even more exciting is where this research might take us. Early results are showing that it may be possible to use our Breathing Wall as an alternative to traditional mechanical ventilation systems.
For me, it is all about that authenticity, believing in the power of research, and really being able to justify and quantify the claims that one may make around systems or installations. Some people did think that living infrastructure was a bit of a fad. There were naysayers, but what we see in the industry now is acceptance and a really positive outlook that greenery is pretty cool for our buildings, it isn’t a fad, and we’re really excited about the future and the opportunities that we can provide for people in the cities so that they’re happier, healthier, and more sociable as the population continues to grow.”