Natural plants have a biodiversity benefit of improving the air quality in the immediate surrounding areas, and many more wonderful benefits.
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Here we look into several different reasons why green living walls are here to stay.
Our awareness of air pollution in cities has grown hugely. Government and local government initiatives across the planet are underpinning and forcing changes that need to be made to preserve healthier air quality. London alone sees 9,000 premature deaths per year as a result of poor air quality.
Clean technologies like living walls and green roofs are known to reduce air-pollution, giving them a firm place in the future urban landscape. Living walls are an economical method to retrospectively green up existing property assets.
Scotscape’s study on the thermal benefits of living walls with Sheffield University showed some impressive results. In the test situation, the application of a living wall reduced the building surface temperature during the height of summer from 41°C to 21°C. This huge cooling effect mitigated the need for air-conditioning inside. In winter the living wall added an insulation which improved temperatures by 6°C, meaning less energy to keep homes and offices warm and cosy. The ambient temperatures throughout the year delivered by living walls make buildings more comfortable to live and work in.
The physical benefits of living walls are immense, but the economic value is often understated. Research has shown that buildings that have living green walls jump in value — sometimes by 12% or more! In addition, they help buildings qualify for the prestigious LEED or BREAM ratings, which makes engaging information for prospective buyers.
It is estimated that by 2050 70% of the worlds population will live in cities. Accommodating this social reality means that we will build more and more vertical cities. The opportunity presented to developers and planners to use our vertical space wisely is ever more important. Living Walls meet the opportunity. Inspiring buildings such as the Bosco Verticale in Milan have emerged as benchmarks for what can be achieved. The Bosco Verticale was designed specifically to incorporate plants, this impressive two tower structure supports no less than 20,000 trees!
Speed of urbanisation has stripped away nature and replaced it with concrete and glass, minimising corridors of nature to support birds and bees. We may take bees and other pollinators like butterflies and hoverflies for granted – but they are vital for stable, healthy food supplies. They are key to the varied, colourful and nutritious diets we need and have come to expect.
Living walls planted well offer a perfect solution for declining pollinator population, placed strategically throughout our cities, sufficient nourishment can be re-introduced, supporting other greening initiatives such as green roofs, rain gardens and considered well managed landscape.
Living Walls play a large role in biophilic design. It is proven that plants specified in the workplace improve productivity, reduce stress and therefore bring huge economic benefits to businesses keen to improve staff retention with reduced absences. Our innate need as humans to connect with nature over-rides modern life – if we can combine the two the benefits are far-reaching.