The brief was to investigate the thermal properties of differing Living Wall systems.
We chose a trough system, a hydroponic system, a compost system and an ivy screen
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
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
- 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.