Living Walls Made Of Plants Could Reduce Heating Costs and Environmental Impacts

Scientists have discovered a means to cut a building’s heat loss by more than 30%. The technique is both environmentally friendly and physically so since they used a live wall. The research, which was published in the journal Structure and Environment, looked at the impacts of retrofitting an existing building with a living wall composed of feeling fabric with pockets for soil and plants. The building in question was the Sustainability Hub at the University of Plymouth, which was constructed before the 1970s. The living wall was on one side of the structure and not on the other.

Both portions are west-facing and have the same height. Over the course of five weeks, the crew took measurements. They discovered that the wall with the live façade lost 31.4 percent less heat than the one without and that it maintained a more consistent temperature throughout the day, requiring less energy to heat. According to the study, buildings account for 17% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, with space heating accounting for 60% of that. Reduced heat loss by one-third in older buildings would account for a significant portion of it.

“Approximately 57 percent of all buildings in England were constructed prior to 1964.” While laws have recently changed to increase the thermal performance of new constructions, our old buildings take the most energy to heat and are a big source of carbon emissions according to main author Dr. Matthew Fox.

“It is thus critical that we begin to enhance the thermal performance of these older buildings if the UK is to meet its net-zero carbon emission target by 2050 and assist to minimize the possibility of fuel poverty as a result of rising energy prices.” The study is part of the University’s Low Carbon Devon Sustainability Hub initiative. It is not only about how well a living wall can insulate buildings; it’s also about the other qualities of such an approach, such as the soil and plant’s ability to sequester carbon, a barrier that ability not only decreases but also eliminates carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“With an ever-increasing urban population, ‘green infrastructure’ is a potentially nature-based answer for addressing climate change, air pollution, and biodiversity loss while promoting low-carbon economic growth.” Dr. Thomas Murphy, an Industrial Research Fellow on the Low Carbon Devon project, stated that living walls might enhance air quality, reduce noise, and promote health and well-being.

“According to our research, living walls can also assist lower the carbon footprint of existing buildings by conserving considerable amounts of energy.” However, more optimization of these living wall systems is required to assist maximize environmental advantages while lowering some of the sustainability costs.” Utopian depictions of future cities frequently depict locations brimming with plants and trees, and studies like these show that this may be a very promising future indeed.