Living walls are green. But apart from stating the obvious, what are the environmental benefits of these increasingly popular additions to façade design?
In a nutshell:
- Living walls provide planting spaces on the sides of buildings
- With the right conditions, living walls can create habitats for bees, bugs and insects
- Living walls can improve air quality, reduce noise pollution and help cut energy consumption
- To achieve all the environmental benefits, façade companies and living wall specialists need to work closely together
- Maple has a positive working relationship with living wall specialists ANS Global
First of all, a quick overview. Living walls are sometimes referred to as vertical gardens, and that’s a good way to think about them. Just like traditional gardens, they need soil, water and feeding – no easy task on the side of a building. That’s why architectural façade companies and living wall specialists, such as ANS Global, work very closely together on all projects.
This collaboration ensures a seamless interface between façade and living wall, and helps realise all the social, economic, structural, regulatory... and environmental benefits those systems can bring.
The environmental benefits of living walls
If you think about a living wall as a vertical garden, then biodiversity is going to come top of the list. But these ‘green walls’ can also improve air quality, reduce noise pollution and help cut energy consumption within the building.
With the correct soil, living walls can be planted with native species and sources of nectar, creating a great habitat for bees, bugs, insects and other important pollinators. Soils typically contain green waste, making a project even more sustainable.
Urban planting or so-called ‘green infrastructure’ can filter out up to 95% of pollutants from vehicles and industry, and living walls are no different. Better still, living walls use large areas of unused façade, so don’t take up the same precious real estate as traditional landscaping.
Plants can absorb, deflect and soften noise. It’s one of the reasons we have plants in our homes and offices. So, why not on the outside of a building? In one study, it was found that an 80mm thick green wall reduced noise by 15dB.
A living wall can act as insulation, helping to regulate a building’s temperature – keeping it warmer in winter and cooler in summer. This is good news for heating and air conditioning bills, and for the planet too.
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