Benefits of Living Walls
You may already have heard about green roofs. Well, how about taking it to the next level – a green, or living, wall. Living walls take many forms, from plants growing up a trellis or cables/wires, to plants cascading down the side of a structure from the top, to plants growing in soil or medium attached directly to the side of a building. If you’re thinking of installing a living wall at home, the GroVert Vertical Wall Planter is a decent option.
While the “how to” may vary, the benefits (and installation considerations) are similar. Here’s a quick list of some of the many advantages to growing a living wall –
- reduces temperature fluctuations on the exterior surfaces and, therefore, inside the building
- protects the facade from the elements (which means less maintenance on the building)
- lowers energy consumption (a living wall can reduce electricity usage by up to 20%)
- improves aethetics (which is good for marketing the building to tenants and customers – not to mention the fact that it also serves as a graffiti deterrent!)
- improves air quality and health (through phytoremediation and biofiltration)
- improves acoustics (mostly by absorbing sound and decreasing noise level within and around the building)
- increases property value (studies have shown increased property values of up to 20%)
- contributes to sustainability
- gives the building credits toward LEED certification (for environmentally-responsible/green buildings)
With all of these benefits, it would seem that everyone should be growing a green wall. However, there are a few things to keep in mind, including the fact that each square foot of a living wall (grown on the side of the building) can weigh between 25 and 40 lbs when fully saturated. This means that the wall must be able to support the load – existing walls may need to be reinforced. Furthermore, living walls must be waterproofed to protect the structure behind it, must have some sort of irrigation system on a very precise timer, and can be quite costly to install. Still, the beauty of a living wall, as well as the environmental benefits, make it something that we’re bound to see more of in the near future.
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