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2011 - Sheffield University - Insulation values of Living Walls

The brief was to investigate the thermal properties of differing Living Wall systems.

The process

We chose a trough system, a hydroponic system, a compost system and an ivy screen

A picture containing text, outdoor

They were positioned on a south facing wall with a classroom behind.

On the floor above there was an identical classroom with the same external building fabric

A white van parked outside a building

Sensors were placed in the living walls, in the space between the living walls and the building and in the classroom. Irrigation was delivered to each system and monitored.

Data was collected over one year


The Result

Read full report here

- Living walls are very effective tools to reduce the heat absorbed by buildings during the Summer.

- Living walls are effective insulators of buildings during the Winter.

- Significant energy efficiencies are delivered by living walls – especially in the summer – cooling buildings by up to 20°C – reducing the need to cool buildings by using excessive air conditioning.

- Good energy efficiencies are delivered by living walls in the winter – insulating buildings by up to 7°C.


- Thermal benefits were observed but it was not possible however to deliver an accurate U value for the various Living Wall systems as there were too many variables including moisture content, size of leaves, orientation.

Inserting an insulation panel between the building and the living wall would be the solution to providing an accurate u value.

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