Sprouting in popularity over the last few years, greenwalls are more than just a pretty face, writes MARK PAUL.
Greenwalls are at the heart of new age aesthetic stimulation and hold opportunity to breathe a new and fresh life into any building. With integration into outdoor, urbanised areas, greenwalls have the capacity to bring a new level of sustainability to the built environment.
A more sustainable and economic option for homes and businesses, greenwalls not only provide health and environmental benefits, but also require minimal maintenance and will last the lifetime of a building. They are a piece of artwork in themselves and contribute to the sustainability of urban ecosystems. Studies have proven that by simply having just a view of greenery increases satisfaction, attracting and retaining better tenants.
The idea behind greenwalls is that they are self-sustainable. With the growing trend towards green living, there is no better way to breathe some sustainability into any external area. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, greenwalls have a multitude of benefits, including:
- Cleaning the outside air of pollutants – greenwalls take particulate matter, capture gases and help reduce summer temperatures via natural cooling processes like photosynthesis.
- Building structure protection – with drastic changes in weather/temperature throughout the year, a building can endure quite a bit of damage. Greenwalls add an extra layer of protection and exterior insulation against organic and damaging materials. With better building protection comes higher leasing rates and retention of happy tenants.
- Reduction of the carbon footprint of the community and moderating the effect of urbanisation on growing cities – the insulation provided by greenwalls can help lower energy costs. This is great for those wanting to live more sustainable and eco-friendly lives.
No two greenwall installations look the same; there are countless creative possibilities with guaranteed aesthetic impact. The initial appeal they provide to the exterior of any structure communicates the true environmental and sustainable attributes they can provide.
Greenwalls and greenroofs offer a number of incredible benefits for facility managers and tenants, whether they are installed inside or out. Such practical advantages of these savings are energy cost reduction to health savings and wellbeing benefits due to the greenwalls.
Need more reasons to believe that greenwalls are more than just a pretty face? Here are six:
Greenwalls are lush and beautiful. They can completely transform a space from a plain area to a unique space. Greenwalls are a great way to enrich an area and can be viewed as a living art form. They’re great on the eye and great for the environment. Put that dusty old painting away and install a greenwall instead.
Improved air quality
There are a number of harmful fumes and contaminants in the air that we breathe in, especially indoors, such as dust particles, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide. Greenwalls are a natural air filter. The plants in the greenwall help metabolise toxins in the air while at the same time releasing oxygen into the air at a much larger scale than the usual potted plants.
Noise level reduction
When placed inside, greenwalls can help reduce noise levels. The plants in the greenwall block high frequency sounds and the structure it is built on can help reduce low frequency noise.
Outdoor greenwalls also help reduce noise pollution, especially in cities that are densely populated. They help to minimise noise, vibrations and reduce sound penetration by absorbing the acoustic energy that bounces off buildings. Reducing noise penetration, particularly for city dwellers, is a great benefit to both tenants and facility managers.
Energy cost reduction
Greenwalls can help reduce both cooling and heating requirements, which further decreases our carbon emissions.
A greenwall can help control the inside temperature of a building by moderating the ambient air temperature, provide greater insulation, filter and control the release of rain and stormwater and promote biodiversity.
In the warmer months, the plants in a greenwall help cool the air through the process of transpiration, while in the winter the living wall acts as extra insulation, which helps reduce heat escaping and blocking the cool air from coming in.
Living walls require very little maintenance. The wall can be left to grow out and can be maintained generally once per quarter. Many greenwalls have their own unique automated irrigation systems, so they don’t need to be manually watered. Over a 12-month period, a standard panel will only require the equivalent of 4.5 showers worth of water.
Health and wellbeing benefits
A number of studies have found that green space and plants have a soothing and relaxing psychological effect.
A Texan study of post-surgery patients recovering in hospitals also showed further health benefits, recording quicker recovery and less chance of relapse if patients could look out onto green space. It also revealed that greenery is great for stress relief.
Mark Paul is the director of The Greenwall Company.