Along with other forms of urban greening such as planting trees and constructing green roofs, green walls provide a host of benefits to the environment, people living and working in the area and to the buildings themselves.
Environmental benefits include increased biodiversity, better air quality and better storm water management.
Human benefits can be summarized into four key areas:
Vegetated surfaces can provide a visual impact and focus or be used to obscure unsightly structures and spaces.
- Health and wellbeing
Plants and greenery have been proven to provide uplifting and calming effects on people whilst having a positive impact on stress related illnesses. Studies have shown that simply having a view of greenery increases workplace productivity and patient recovery rates in hospitals.
- Dust suppression
Large areas of greenery help to suppress dust particles, improving air quality around construction sites and busy highways. This can lead to a reduction in respiratory illness. There has been much focus recently on reducing PM10 particles to meet EU regulations.
- Noise reduction
Planted surfaces have low reflectivity and high absorption properties. Ambient noise is attenuated so improving conditions for building occupants and pedestrians alike.
Building benefits – the buildings themselves also see benefit from green walls including:
- Passive thermal insulation
A coverage of vegetation over a building can dramatically reduce the need for additional cooling in summer. The vegetation also works as a blanket to reduce heat loss from a building in winter. Studies have shown considerable energy savings.
- Building protection
Green walls help reduce UV damage to surfaces and can protect a building from wind, weather and temperature fluctuations, prolonging the life of the structure. These factors may in fact offset any maintenance costs of green walling.
- Green credentials
Green walls are visual indicators of sustainable design and can be a means of qualifying for additional eco-credits for sustainability assessment schemes and may help with planning applications.