Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Green Wall vs Vertical Wall

Why is Green wall or vertical wall garden so popular these days?
By: Jabina Shrestha

We all know that plants have served human being since centuries supplying us food, clothing, building materials and other necessary goods. Home to more than half of the world’s population, planners, designers are once again turning to plants i.e. green infrastructure so as to provide cleaner air and water, while improving living environments and human health.

Green wall or vertical wall garden has gained tremendous popularity in recent years and offers a great opportunity for an architect or an artist to integrate green art into a building. It can drastically change a boring exterior and can turn it into a living and breathing wall. It is usually found either free-standing or part of a building with some sort of vegetation like boundary walls and screens, section walls, retaining feature walls, i.e. within foyers, atriums and internal courtyards.

My current thesis project, “Graduate family Housing “focusses towards environmental sustainability where I am integrating more open and closed spaces together. I am also planning to have my external building fa├žade treated with green wall in order to give fantastic aesthetic effect. The main reason for choosing green wall is to have an eco-friendly technology, green values and cool down the building through a naturally occurring cooling process.

Vertical gardens can be grown on any type of wall, with or without the use of soil, and they can be placed 
both on exterior and interior walls. As long as there is no shortage of water for the living wall, no soil is required. The plants receive water and nutrients from within the vertical support instead of from the ground.
Many of us often get confused between vertical gardens and vertical wall garden. Vertical gardens are usually seen in an urban areas and have been popular due to poor growing soil or little soil and limited land surface. Like vertical gardening, vertical wall gardens bring plants to eye level.

Vertical wall gardens grow non-vining plants, like moss, Alyssum, and orchids. The wall
becomes the garden’s planting area. Another difference is that vertical wall gardens tend not to use soil. Vertical gardening tends to use vining plants, like peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers, which naturally like to grow up or sprawl. These plants are either tied to vertical structures or use their own ability to grip things to grow on and climb

There are various systems to install but in my project, I am using a system composed of pre-vegetated panels, vertical modules or planted blankets that are fixed vertically to a structural wall or frame. These panels can be made of plastic, expanded polystyrene, synthetic fabric, clay, metal. Due to the diversity and density of plant life, living walls typically require more intensive maintenance (e.g. a supply of nutrients to fertilize the plants).

Well I guess due to all the benefits we get from plants, people have started understanding its value and how important it is when dealing with the vertical space in urban environments. I have listed out some of the benefits:
·        It provides aesthetic sensation
·        It provides sound insulation
·        Reduction of thermal loading to buildings - lower heating and cooling costs = lower carbon     
·        Filters air pollutants to improve air quality
·        Reduces the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI)
·        Moderates a building’s internal temperature via external shading
·        Provides storm water management, absorbing 45-75% of rainfall
·        Serves as a natural water filter and water temperature moderator

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