The Low Down On Green Living
September 10th, 2008
Green roofs are great - they’re very energy efficient, they capture and filter stormwater, they reduce the urban heat island effect, and they soften the harsh grays and blacks of our cities (at least from above!). We’ve written at length in the past about these benefits. If it works so well on roofs, why stop there?
That’s exactly what the firm Green Living Technologies thought when they developed their Green Living Walls system, which is based on designs they developed for sloped roofs. They’ve developed a modular green wall system that can be used to create anything from a small herb wall in your kitchen to a full facade of an office building and anything in bewteen. You can pick from a huge range of plants suitable to your climate, and you can also choose to grow the plants onsite once the wall is installed or have them delivered pre-grown so that your wall is green from day one.
The set of benefits is slightly different from those of green roofs. Because they are vertical, you can’t capture and filter as much stormwater through them as you could a green roof (although with certain configurations you can route water from the roof through a wall system). Also, you don’t get quite as much insulation bang for your buck since since in most buildings more energy is lost or gained per square foot through the roof than through the walls. However, a well-designed green wall on the south side of a building will reduce cooling demands and increase comfort in the summer.
There are some significant benefits over green roofs. Fruits and vegetables can be grown in GLT’s Green Living Walls, and you don’t have to have access to the roof to care for or harvest them.
Also, think about the benefits in our cities if green walls were more widespread. Green spaces wouldn’t be limited to just rooftops, parks or streetside planting areas, and would instead hide or replace the concrete and glass of buildings. Streets would be cooler. Vegetables could be grown in urban spaces that currently sit unused, reducing the impacts of shipping food in from far away. And at least in a small way cities could begin to sequester some of the carbon they generate.
So, the next time you’re thinking about replacing a wall at home or redoing an internal or external wall where you work, make sure to throw a green one into the mix!
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