People have coexisted with plants throughout time—and for good reason!
Living walls provide cooling through a combination of shading, evapotranspiration and surface reflectivity. As the plant works to cool itself, it lowers the air temperature and reduces heat transfer to the inside of the building, insulating the interior and decreasing the building’s energy consumption. During the winter, the additional layer of the living wall provides extra insulation that prevents heat from escaping. This reduces energy costs and decreases carbon emissions, helping to combat climate change as well as reducing emissions from power plants.
Urban areas are becoming an increasingly hostile environment for wildlife. Pollution, noise and loss of vegetation are the consequences of modern urbanization. We seek to improve the environment for humans and for the numerous organisms that comprise a thriving ecosystem by bringing a diverse range of plants into densely urban areas.
In any metropolis, space is limited. Every square inch is utilized for functionality, yet the walls are often left bare. Living walls are a smart and effective medium for city dwellers to grow herbs, fruits and vegetables even in the smallest of spaces.
Many indoor spaces contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can cause headaches, fatigue, and respiratory problems. Plants trap particulate matter and CO2 gasses while releasing oxygen. Levels of many common VOCs such as benzene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide can be reduced by adding even a few houseplants to a room. Living walls can improve the quality of air by increasing the surrounding humidity. This occurs through the plant’s cooling process, known as transpiration, where water vapor is released through surface pores on the underside of the leaves. Humidity can greatly reduce the negative effects of aridity such as dry eyes, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue.
Plants soften and dampen sound waves through absorption and refraction. The most frequently viewed example of applied plant acoustics is the freeway sound barrier, a large stone wall draped with plants. Living walls in urban spaces can be installed to reduce distracting echoes in large rooms and dampen vexing street noise.
Our physical and mental well-being is elevated in the presence of natural greenery. The benefits we experience around plants include enhanced self-esteem, reduced stress levels, and feelings of revitalization. When plants are added to a workspace, productivity and creativity improve. Horticulture therapy is often incorporated into the treatment of patients with mental illnesses for the restorative effects described above.