Green Walls appear to be all the rage recently and many designers consider adding a green wall to their designs but what are the advantages and potential pitfalls of a living green wall?

Green Walls - a huge internal living wall

Air


There is no better air filter than a natural one and a green wall will clean the surrounding space which may improve employees’ health and productivity. Toxins like carbon monoxide and VOCs can be stabilized or eliminated by the oxygen released by a green wall.

noise


Plants, in general, and green walls, specifically, can help reduce noise levels in buildings. Such vegetation reduces high frequency sounds while the structure which contains it can aid reductions in lower frequency sounds.

visual appeal


What better way to impress employees or visitors to your company than with an elegant and green wall full of plants? The greenery helps to filter the air and promote a healthy environment while the smells fill the workplace with something a little different. You’ll commonly find green walls in offices, reception areas, hotels and in any environment which wants to show itself off.

LEED


Adding a green wall can aid a building in getting LEED points because of their eco-friendly properties which may then lead to increased property value and potentially, tax credits.

Internal green walls:

Green Walls - internal green wall
Green Walls - internal green living wall

Well


We’ve all heard of LEED for environmental design but what about WELL? Well, WELL is a similar certification system which focuses on well-being and the installation of a green wall is certainly one way to add WELL credits and it has been shown to improve worker happiness levels, productivity and overall well-being.

Cost Savings


Surprisingly, there are, not inconsiderable, cost benefits to taking advantage of the green wall trend. A living wall can cool the air during hot summers as part of a process called ‘evapotranspiration’ while the cold winters can be mitigated as the green walls act as a layer of insulation. Adding a green wall to the exterior of a building, as seen on many new skyscrapers and malls, can lead to  significant energy savings and negate the need for air conditioning in some situations.

Green Walls - green wall with different plant types

External GREEN WALLS:

Green Walls - external living wall
Green Walls - external living green wall with different plants and flowers
Green Walls - living wall in an office

Types


A green wall can be as simple as ivy growing up the side of a building or it can be the more customary structure which contains plants and vegetation. Today it also includes smart green walls which control themselves.

structure


Plants need to grow in something. Commonly a green wall will have plants growing from bags of soil which are nested on shelves. Other systems use mats where the plants grow from thin coir fibers or felts meaning no soil is needed. Built in irrigation systems can ensure the plants remain green even when buildings are closed for an extended period.

Plants


Typically, you’ll see plants like bird’s nest fern and clusia rosea as the preference is definitely leaning towards evergreen varieties for obvious reasons. The choice is wider for indoor green walls allowing the option of tropical plants and house plants.

Maintaining a living wall


Upkeep is necessary and plants will occasionally need to be replaced for various reasons – consider a green wall as a long term investment rather than a one-off purchase. Replacing plants in bags is easier than those growing from mats which can cause problems to neighbouring plants. Irrigation is a big consideration. Integrated irrigation systems will make it much easier to manage the plants and such systems can be linked to a building’s water supply.

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