Thursday, January 22, 2015

Green Walls

I've heard of (and studied) green roofs, at this point I think everyone has at least heard of them once in their lives. In class on Tuesday I heard a new term that strangely I had never thought of or heard before: green walls.

The term "green walls" includes all vegetated wall surface types. And green façades, living walls, retaining living walls, biowalls, vertical gardens, modular green walls, vegetated mat wall are all types or other names for green walls.

I am not sure why I felt the idea so revolutionary, when it would have been so easy to take the green roof idea and move it down to the walls or even the floor. (Yeah I said it green floors, talk about really being surrounded by nature in it's original state! Wake up in the morning and your feet fall upon warm grass. This isn't me advocating the idea only taking the existing and connecting it to other similar areas.)

As I searched for more information on green walls the first several results, outside of wikipedia's green walls page, were all commercial companies completely ignoring the real benefits of having green walls. They listed things like: "There is no better way to brand your company as being "Green" than with a beautiful Living Green Wall by Ambius." If you want to be superficial that is probably who you should use to build your new green wall.

To their defense they did state a few other benefits to having a green wall, just on other pages:
  • Plants look attractive
  • Provide a pleasant and tranquil environment
  • Plants help reduce stress - "We experience less stress when there are plants around us."
  • Buildings are more stimulating and interesting
  • "People in offices [with green walls] are more productive, take fewer sick days, make fewer mistakes."
  • "Patients in hospitals benefit greatly from being more in touch with nature."
  • "There is even evidence showing students perform better in improved learning environments."
  • Plants improve air quality
Green walls or interior plants also help with:
  • Reducing carbon dioxide levels
  • Increasing humidity
  • Reducing levels of certain pollutants, such as benzene and nitrogen dioxide
  • Reducing airborne dust levels
  • Keeping air temperatures down
  • Plants help lower background noise
(I am using this information from, and a lot of their information can at least in part be supported in the article "The Effect of Indoor Foliage Plants on Health and Discomfort Symptoms among Office Workers")

The best list of benefits I was able to find came from, the Green Roof's website page: (See their page for more information on each benefit)
  • Aesthetic Improvements
  • Reduction of the Urban Heat Island Effect
  • Improved Exterior Air Quality
  • Local Job Creation
  • Improved Energy Efficiency
  • Building Structure Protection
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality
  • Noise Reduction
  • Marketing Potential
  • Increased Biodiversity
  • Improved Health and Well-Being
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Onsite Wastewater Treatment
To close my post, I ask you and me to think about what other current ideas we have, and how can we expand them into other areas?

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I just wanted to take a moment to send a personal message out to all those in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Gardening, Horticulture, and Urban Planning/Urban Ecology. I created Landscape Connections for the purpose to share my love and passion for Landscape Architecture and Design, and Urban Ecology. I was a Landscape Architecture Major at Utah State University and currently study Urban Ecology at the University of Utah. I am working to compile as much information in the four previously mentioned fields as possible. If you have any further information, or would like to either add information or see information posted to landscape connections please let me know.