Built environments bring with them many detrimental consequences including high energy costs for heating and cooling, hard surfaces that contribute to higher city temperatures, stormwater runoff, degraded air quality and noise. However, emerging technology is turning many buildings green with significant human and environmental benefits.
During the past few years there has been a trend towards greening built environments, transforming office spaces and walls into living vegetation. Referred to as greenwalls, living walls, biowalls and vertical gardens, they are either free-standing or part of a building, that is partially or completely covered with vegetation. Many greenwalls use innovative hydroponics technology. These building adaptations are designed to mimic the growing conditions found where greenwalls occur in nature.
The concept of greenwalls dates back to 600 BC with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. And now they are making a comeback to green city buildings. Interior and exterior greenwalls can now be found in airports, shopping centres, office buildings and homes around the world, including New York, Montreal, Chicago, Mexico City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Australia.
From a practical point of view, greenwalls reduce building temperatures, and help alleviate ‘sick building syndrome’ (SBS), which is related to poor indoor air quality. However, the immediate benefit of a greenwall is its incredible beauty, bringing the outside inside for building occupants. Greenwalls are also said to improve property values!
Internationally, the trend towards ‘greening’ buildings is gaining momentum. Green roofs not only radically reduce stormwater runoff and therefore the cost of disposal, they also provide greater insulation for a building, prolong the life of the roof membrane and reduce noise penetration.
They are also great to look at and use, increasing the worth of the real estate they are on and viewed by.
KOKOBO GREENSCAPES uses award-winning design techniques, passion and expertise in horticulture in residential and commercial projects to bring greenwalls to a new level of integration within the built environment.