July 25, 2021

What if the purest air in Milan was in an indoor space?

6 min read

Green Media Lab is a Milan-based media relations and digital company specializing in sectors like sustainability and CSR, but also sport, outdoor, lifestyle, fashion, healthy food and technology. Moreover, they are a B Corp and a Società Benefit as they act according to ecofriendly criteria communication and consulting activities. Its clients include brands such as Patagonia, Vibram and Save The Duck.

Recently they hooked up with PNAT, a multidisciplinary society of researchers, biologists, designers, engineers and architects, to present Fabbrica Dell’Aria (Air Factory), a new system designed to purify the air of indoor spaces through plants. The new system made its debut inside Green Media Lab’s new Milanese smart green headquarters.

Daniele Denegri, founder and CEO of Green Media Lab, and Camilla Pandolfi, co-founder and CEO of PNAT, explained the project.

How was Air Factory born?
Daniele Denegri (DD) and Camilla Pandolfi (CP): Air Factory is a project strongly desired by Green Media Lab. Giovanni Storti, part of the trio Aldo, Giovanni e Giacomo, an actor and partner of our media agency, put us in touch with the company that has designed a revolutionary installation to improve the quality of air in indoor environments. PNAT is a reality in which architects and engineers coexist, working with plant scientists from LINV (the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology founded by Stefano Mancuso at the University of Florence). The continuous exchange of opinions, knowledge and know-how has allowed the creation of the innovative Air Factory and its ability to use plants as a botanical filter to capture CO2 and reduce pollutants.

Camilla Pandolfi, co-founder/CEO, PNAT

Camilla Pandolfi, co-founder/CEO, PNAT

How can you prove that it is effective and beneficial to our health?
DD+CP: The Air Factory uses the Stomata technology, developed and registered by PNAT and based on the use of plants; its effectiveness in abating air pollutants has been tested by LINV. This technology can abate 98% of the main airborne contaminants, i.e. VOCs (volatile organic compounds), whose high indoor concentrations represent a real threat to health, and particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), which is equally harmful to people. In each installation, the effectiveness of the technology is monitored through a system of sensors and returned in real time on a monitor available to users, who can thus verify the quality of incoming and outgoing indoor air and the amount of pollutants removed by the Air Factory.

Has it obtained any certification, or will it obtain it soon?
DD+CP: The effectiveness of the Air Factory has been validated by LINV, the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology of the University of Florence, in terms of its ability to purify the air from fine particles and volatile organic compounds. At the moment, we are also working to obtain international certifications.

Fabbrica Dell'Aria (Air Factory)

Fabbrica Dell’Aria (Air Factory)

What are the minimum requirements to install this same “system” in any other space?
DD+CP: The Air Factory system is absolutely scalable: there are no minimum requirements for an installation. To meet all needs, we have developed several lines of solutions, depending on the size of the space to be purified and the needs of those who use it. Even the care required is minimal, because irrigation and lighting are designed to be automatic and the plants are also chosen for their adaptability.

Can it also be installed in stores, restaurants or similar public places?
DD+CP: Absolutely. Air exchange is a central issue for stores and restaurants: the Air Factory is an ideal solution in these contexts, because it ensures pure air, free of pollutants (some of which are produced by the same equipment, as in the case of restaurant kitchens). Taking the air to be purified directly from inside the spaces (and not from outside, as in normal filtration systems), the air does not need to be heated or cooled and always maintains the ideal temperature, reducing energy consumption. In addition, the presence of plants offers benefits in terms of acoustic insulation and psycho-physical well-being, greatly improving the experience of customers and visitors.

From left: Daniele Denegri, founder/CEO, and Giovanni Storti, actor and shareholder, Green Media Lab

From left: Daniele Denegri, founder/CEO, and Giovanni Storti, actor and shareholder, Green Media Lab

Mr. Denegri, can you tell us about Green Media Lab? Since when does it exist, what brands does it deal with, etc.?
DD: Green Media Lab is a media relations and digital company specialized in strategic consulting, communication and content creation in the fields of sustainability and CSR, outdoor, lifestyle and healthy food. Green Media Lab was born in 2012, at a time when the attention to sustainability was not at all contemplated as a business model. Since then, we have tried to develop a concept of responsible and conscious business, obtaining the B Corp certification in January three years ago. In 2019, we also won the Assorel “Excellence in P.R.” award for the “Circular Economy Communication” category, thanks to a campaign created for the Patagonia brand. In January 2020 we changed our statute and became a Benefit Company, confirming our commitment to a positive social and environmental impact. As a company attentive to the preservation of the planet, we have joined the NetZero2030 campaign, with the aim of contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and providing for the total offset of our carbon dioxide emissions. Finally, our company is part of the Global Compact Network Italia foundation, the largest strategic corporate citizenship initiative in the world, promoted by the United Nations.

Fabbrica dell'Aria

Fabbrica dell’Aria

Among our clients there are companies that have a very strong link with sustainability: Patagonia, Vibram, Save The Duck, Rewoolution, an activewear brand part of wool fabric manufacturer Gruppo Reda, Aworld, an app chosen by United Nations supporting the Act Now campaign against climate change, and Cortilia, an e-commerce organization connecting consumers with farmers and high-quality genuine food producers. Renzo Rosso’s Red Circle Investments has recently entered Cortilia’s capital.

When did you decide to be an environmentally conscious company? And how did you become so?
DD: We started the company in 2012, at a time when sustainability was not even considered as a business model. With the passing of time, attention to the environment has become an essential added value for all companies operating in any sector.

In the meantime, our journey to become an increasingly conscious company continues. After achieving B Corp certification in 2018 and becoming a Società Benefit in January 2020, we joined 500 other B Corps and made a commitment to zero carbon emissions by 2030, 20 years ahead of the Paris Agreement’s 2050 targets.

Do you choose your potential clients upon these characteristics or do they choose you?
DD: The companies that contact us are often in line with our philosophy and share our same values. Some of them, moreover, have already undertaken a path to make their business more responsible. However, we also deal with companies that rely on us to take this first step, and in this case our role is to accompany them on a path to implement policies related to Corporate Social Responsibility. This issue is particularly close to our heart, and it is the reason why we created our Green Advisory Lab, a spin-off dedicated to corporate sustainability consulting: we offer dedicated training, support in the B Corp certification process, impact reporting and many other services. We support our clients and provide comprehensive advice on all environmental and social issues, both at the level of corporate strategy and in the communication processes to increase brand awareness and bring brands closer to their target audience.

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