Let’s shed light on the new Chicago-based green builder Zauben. Interested in eco-alternatives for your property? Learn how to design differently with Zauben green roofs and living walls.

Founder Story

Founded in April, Zauben is an end-to-end product and service company centered around green roofs and living walls.

Chief Vision Officer & Founder Zachary Smith was uniquely inspired by the abundance of artificial tools and toys in our everyday life. Smith observed expanding city limits, looming threats from climate change, and an increasing dependence on technology.

Each of these factors pointed him to a world ruled by the artificial. Paradoxically, Smith believes as the urban jungle extends its vines, the human desire for nature grows. Thus inspired by the insatiable human need for natural, Zauben was born.

Through his innovative product and service, Smith seeks “to help bring our cities, homes, and offices to life”.

Early in his Investment Banking career, Smith got a firsthand look at entrepreneurs who were fighting for environmental initiatives through a business lens. During that time, Smith had the opportunity to work with top leaders in sustainability. Whether it was architects, designers, developers, or forward-thinking companies, they all had a single message: We can make a difference.

Smith’s background includes time spent in venture capital, marketing, sales, and advertising. He worked with Fortune 100 C-Suite executives such as BP, Disney, Anheuser-Busch, Red Bull, and Pepsi-Co to help shape their shopper insight strategies.

Zauben green roofs

Construction/real estate is an important yet often overlooked component of the business-sustainability dynamic. Where consumer goods get the brunt of environmental criticism, there are many sectors with a lasting impact on the natural world. As such, prioritizing the ways in which we build things and the places we work and live is critical. When faced with the rapid advance and development of global society, it becomes essential.

It is projected by the year 2050 that 68% of the world’s populations will live in cities. Therefore, we must create spaces and structures that complement both natural elements and human flare.

In this mode of thinking, Zauben eloquently speaks to the market need for greener, more efficient architecture in urban areas – without compromising design. Look at China as an example. The second wealthiest nation in the world faces the challenge of air pollution that kills more than 17% of its population every year. By altering design & architecture in urban areas, it is estimated that two ‘vertical forests’ alone can clean 35 tons of CO2 and make 30 tons of oxygen a year.

Forests in the city?

Vertical Forests are the model for sustainable commercial and residential building. These unique structures are primarily used as projects for metropolitan reforestation that contribute to the regeneration of the environment. They also contribute to complex, urban biodiversity without the implication of expanding cities upon the countryside. Vertical forests operate in accordance with policies for reforestation and for the naturalization of large urban and metropolitan borders.

Where vertical forests are becoming increasingly popular abroad, Zauben is one of few companies set out to create them in the United States.

Design differently with Zauben

Zauben grows plants at local nursery’s, coordinates the delivery & installation and then maintains the plants to make sure the product stays green and beautiful.

There are a multitude of ways a green roof or living wall may benefit a commercial property.

Green roofs offer water management – the EPA has found that green rooftops can help reduce rainstorms runoffs by 75%. Cities also incentivize more eco-friendly building options with tax credits as much as 50%.

Plants can remove air pollution by as much as 87% and improve the quality of air we breathe through outdoor air vents.

Zauben’s revolutionary living wall product includes plant lighting, self-watering system, and measures air quality and real-time plant performance monitoring through an intuitive Plant Care app.

One of the key economic advantages of green roofs is its ability to reduce costly storm water runoffs by up to 80% and increase the roof life by 50+ years. Furthermore, green designs offer heat mitigation and extra insulation.

Essentially, you could cool NYC by 5 – 8 degrees — substantial energy-saving benefits.  In the summertime, living walls and green roofs can save up to 75% on air conditioning savings and up to 25% on heating costs. Mix those benefits with the plant’s ability to remove hundreds of tons of CO2 and purify the air by 87%, and you have a massive incentive for cities to become eco-friendly.

Making a difference with Zauben

Ultimately, green roofs and living walls are only a small solution to a very complex problem.

To Smith, “It’s an endless mission but a battle worth fighting.”

We all play a part in creating environmental issues. In a similar light, we all can play a part in creating a healthier, more sustainable future.

“Together, we can make a difference.”

Smith founded Zauben with that very sentiment in mind. Design today with tomorrow in mind. When Smith set out to tackle Goliath issues like climate change and air pollution, the answer was simple: Plants.

To Smith, if we re-imagine how we think and interact with nature, we could begin to breathe life back into our cities and communities.

Zauben’s goal is to convince cities, buildings and homes to operate more responsibly. A portion of their profits are donated to support the Environmental Defense Fund.

In the last two years, progressive cities have begun to mandate green roofs and are placing living walls incentives not only for the environment but for the economic benefits.

The message to Smith is clear: Be green and save green.

Green building remains a relatively young, untapped market in the United States. Zauben looks to be at the forefront of this hot urban trend in the coming years. They have a team of dedicated, award-wining designers who are ready to kick-ass in their first year of launching. Get ready to green the world with Zauben.

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