It’s not as if the world really needed another form of advertising. But the four founders of Dresden-based start-up Green City Solutions have come up with an idea that has enormous potential. By re-inventing the billboards and large hoardings seen everywhere in cities and at the side of the road, the company’s patented CityTree concept represents an original take on advertising while doing something positive for the environment at the same time. Denes Honus is one of the company’s four founders, who are all graduates of TU Dresden or Leipzig University of Applied Sciences. He explains how their innovative product works: “Not only does CityTree help to protect the environment and climate, it actually enhances them. CityTree provides an advertising hoarding made of high-quality wood or another material, which can be covered with environmentally-friendly green leafy plants.” Up to 1,682 plants can be installed in a space of just two square metres and arranged to form a QR code or corporate logo, for example. Denes continues: “Each CityTree absorbs around 30 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year – about as much as 20 roadside trees – and 37 grams of fine particles.” Moreover, CityTree is capable of reducing the temperature in the immediate vicinity by up to 15 °C and is a self-sustaining system. Watering is also carried out automatically: “Inside the structure is a tank containing water and nutrients, and the pump system that supplies the plants is operated via built-in solar panels.”

Denes Honus is convinced that soon everyone will be talking about his company’s innovative concept, even though so far it has only been exhibited as a prototype at trade shows. Other versions of this versatile invention are at the planning stage, he says, including ones that feature a Wi-Fi hotspot or utilise biomass. They could even be used to upgrade bus stops by adding integrated seating.

The Green City Solutions start-up was founded in Dresden in March 2014. The city provides a fertile environment for young entrepreneurs, says Honus: “We’ve received a huge amount of support from all sides. We are able to use offices at the TU rent free and even have access to production facilities, where we develop our prototypes. We have also benefited enormously from contact with networks of academic staff at the TU and Leipzig University of Applied Sciences.” And how does Green City Solutions see the future? “CityTree is currently our main priority as there’s no comparable product on the market so far. But we’ll also continue to work hard on developing new products alongside it,” says Honus with a grin.