Green walls or living walls protect buildings. They do this by reducing temperature fluctuations of the envelope. A constant flux in temperature leads to the expansion and contraction of building materials. This results in cracks, fractures and general deterioration.
The special methods in which our green walls are framed enhances building protection. The living wall panels and the exterior envelope are separated by a layer of air, allowing the building to ‘breath’. The system is very similar to rain-screening technology; keeping rain off the building while still allowing moisture to escape.
Covering an exposed vertical surface with a green wall shields it from precipitation and wind as well as from harmful UV radiation and corrosive acid rain. This in turn increases the integrity and longevity of a building’s exterior.
Mitigation of the Urban Heat Island Effect
In today's urban environment cities and towns have been reducing more and more of the vegetation layer that provides these areas the ability to regulate the levels of heat that gets produced by the sun. Without this layer the suns rays and heat get reflected by the concrete and can cause damage to local property and force energy expenses to increase. By introducing green walls to the urban environment it will promote natural cooling by photosynthesis and water evaporation and greatly reduce storm water runoff created by our wet weather conditions here in the west of Europe.
“Air movement along vertical heated surfaces is even greater than over horizontal surfaces. With strategic placement of vertical gardens, plants can create enough turbulence to break vertical air flow which cools the air at the same time it slows it down. By changing wind energy into kinetic and heat energy, planted surfaces can also have a significant impact on local wind patterns - thereby reducing the detrimental effects of wind on a building.” (E. Kuhn and Bass et al., 1999, p. 18,40)