By: Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, Urban Sustainability Agent
There is great interest in green roofs and green walls as we strive to achieve more sustainable cities. Green roofs and green walls have been referred to as “living architecture” since they promote the concept of life and vitality although they are structurally connected to an urban fixture – e.g. office building, hospital, malls.
Is a green roof better than a green wall? Well that really depends on the building, its location and the purpose for the green infrastructure.
A green wall is similar to a green roof but instead of being a lateral installation, a green wall is a vertical installation. Green walls are preferable where a green roof installation might not be suitable. The benefits of both of these “architectural pieces” are quite similar but the most direct impact of a green roof or green wall in an urban area is its ability to reduce urban heat island effects.
Here’s a short list of some of the merits of a green roof:
- Green roofs offer the obvious aesthetic benefit but it can also provide opportunities for gardens in land-deficit urban cities and promote health and stress reduction therapies using plants.
- Green roofs reduce a building owner’s economic costs since the insulation provided reduces heating and cooling costs.
- Green roofs improve air quality since they filter pollutants and can mitigate climate change impacts by acting as carbon “sinks”.
- Green roofs also assist with water filtration and reduce stress on stormwater systems because the plants use the water and return it to the water cycle via transpiration and evaporation.
Green walls provide all the benefits of a green roof installation but can be installed as a façade or as living wall. The façade installation uses recycled steel and 3D welded wires to create captive growing spaces for the plant materials. The façade panels can be attached to exterior building walls or between floors or horizontally between posts. The added benefit is that the panels are easily flexible, both in terms of dimensions and mobility, so you can detach it from the building whenever necessary!
Consider a green wall or green roof in your next upgrade!