At dot-pot we are committed to improving the environment and helping to make the cities we live in more sustainable. Our green walls help buildings become more energy efficient which leads to a decrease in carbon emissions. They also mitigate the urban heat island effect, absorb and filter stormwater, reduce pollution and act as carbon sinks.
In addition to using a wide range of native and locally adapted vegetation on our outdoor walls, beneficial organisms, such as small birds, butterflies, bees and ladybugs are attracted to these green oases. Therefore Green over Grey™ is helping to bring biodiversity back into the city!
As outlined in the Energy Savings and LEED® Credits sections a green wall acts as a kind of protective barrier which shields a building from solar radiation and heat penetration. This reduces the demand on cooling systems. In winter Green over Grey™ living walls provides an additional layer of insulation keeping the cold out and warmth in. These features act to reduce the carbon footprint of a building.
The urban heat island effect is defined as a metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. A large portion of this heat comes from the multitude of hard surfaces, including exposed walls, which radiate the sun’s energy. Vegetation has been shown to reduce this effect and the negative impacts it has on life quality.
Green walls naturally absorb and filter stormwater. It is also possible to irrigate them using collected rainwater. The roots, and microorganisms living around them, utilize and remove pollutants found in the water. Excess water is eliminated through the process known as evapotranspiration.
As plants grow they absorb greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and store it in their tissues, basically acting as carbon sponges. The way we arrange the plants in our living wall system is quite dense which means that we are able to have many in a small amount of space. Therefore the carbon that is sequestered (i.e. absorbed and stored) from, say, a 20 m2 (215 ft2) wall is about the same as a medium sized tree.
If you were to go back in time, before any city or agricultural land was developed what you would find is an ecosystem that is very diverse, containing many different plants and animal species. Modern cities and croplands have severely reduced that biological variety. Our outdoor living walls can be viewed as mini ecosystems; the incorporation of such a variety of plant species supports many beneficial organisms such as butterflies, bees, ladybugs and humming birds.
As most people are well aware, rainforests are being cut down and burnt at an alarming rate with over 6000 square meters (1.5 acres) of rainforest lost every second. Experts estimate that we are losing 45 plant species every single day due to rainforest destruction. This equates to over 16,000 species extinction a year! The plants that we use on our indoor green walls are almost all native to tropical rainforests, living under the forest canopy. Whenever possible we try to include species that are threatened in their natural habitat.
Although a subject of debate, supporters of zoos claim that having wildlife in captivity, where people can visit, appreciate and learn about the animals, teaches them to conserve the ones threatened in the wild. One could argue that the same principle can be applied to a green wall. If people are up close and personal with a multitude of plant species perhaps they will have a greater appreciation for the natural world and try harder to halt habitat destruction.