Living walls - a way to green the built environment

Loh, Susan (2008) Living walls - a way to green the built environment. BEDP Environment Design Guide, 1(TEC 26), pp. 1-7.

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Actions Towards Sustainable Outcomes

Environmental Issues/Principal Impacts The increasing urbanisation of cities brings with it several detrimental consequences, such as: • Significant energy use for heating and cooling many more buildings has led to urban heat islands and increased greenhouse gas emissions. • Increased amount of hard surfaces, which not only contributes to higher temperatures in cities, but also to increased stormwater runoff. • Degraded air quality and noise. • Health and general well-being of people is frequently compromised, by inadequate indoor air quality. • Reduced urban biodiversity.

Basic Strategies In many design situations, boundaries and constraints limit the application of cutting EDGe actions. In these circumstances, designers should at least consider the following: • Living walls are an emerging technology, and many Australian examples function more as internal feature walls. However,as understanding of the benefits and construction of living walls develops this technology could be part of an exterior facade that enhances a building’s thermal performance. • Living walls should be designed to function with an irrigation system using non-potable water.

Cutting EDGe Strategies • Living walls can be part of a design strategy that effectively improves the thermal performance of a building, thereby contributing to lower energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. • Including living walls in the initial stages of design would provide greater flexibility to the design, especially of the facade, structural supports, mechanical ventilation and watering systems, thus lowering costs. • Designing a building with an early understanding of living walls can greatly reduce maintenance costs. • Including plant species and planting media that would be able to remove air impurities could contribute to improved indoor air quality, workplace productivity and well-being. Synergies and References • Living walls are a key research topic at the Centre for Subtropical Design, Queensland University of Technology: • BEDP Environment Design Guide: DES 53: Roof and Facade Gardens • BEDP Environment Design Guide: GEN 4: Positive Development – Designing for Net Positive Impacts (see green scaffolding and green space frame walls). • Green Roofs Australia: • Green Roofs for Healthy Cities USA:

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 28172
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Sustainability, Building facade, climate change, green facades, green walls
ISSN: 1442-5017
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100) > Architectural Science and Technology (incl. Acoustics Lighting Structure and Ecologically Sustainable Design) (120104)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100) > Architectural Design (120101)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Deposited On: 23 Oct 2009 05:38
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2012 14:08

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