Green walls and facades are not only nice to look at – they can also help beat the summer heat by making buildings more comfortable and cities more liveable.
Here is how.
1. Shading effect
Green walls and facades can be used to directly shade a building’s surface. A cooling effect occurs when solar radiation is absorbed into the plants for photosynthesis rather than into the wall itself.
This in turn can help reduce solar entry into the building, internal heat build-up and the costs of air conditioning during the summer.
Green walls and facades can be installed inside buildings as well, which can create additional savings on cooling costs.
2. Passive cooling
As well as direct shading, there are other mechanisms by which green walls and facades create a cooling effect.
One way is through the evaporation that occurs when the plants are supplied with water. Another is the insulating effect and cooling breezes that can occur where there is a gap between the wall surface and the foliage, as in the case of a green facade.
3. Combat urban heat island effect
Green spaces have been shown to reduce the urban heat island effect caused by reflective hard surfaces and human activity in built-up areas.
However, there is not always adequate vacant space in cities to build gardens or parks. Green walls allow for the creation of vertical gardens where land space is at a premium, and they can mitigate the effect of heat reflection from bare building walls into the surrounding air. In many cases, they can be retrofitted to existing buildings.
The evidence for green walls
- According to Science Direct, green walls can reduce internal temperatures in a high-rise building block by around 5°C.
- Three green wall experiments undertaken in Italy show significant temperature reductions on building surfaces compared to bare walls. The experiments produced differing results as they each involved a different type of installation. However, they all resulted in lower wall surface temperatures of 12°C to 20°C on sunny days.
- Testing by the South Australian Government showed that when a green facade is applied to a building wall, it can reduce the surface temperature by up to 8°C compared to a control wall.
At Tensile, we specialise in creating support systems for green walls and facades. Our projects include:
Vance Apartments, Sydney
In this Harold Park installation, a series of four hanging gardens cantilever off the buildings and cascade down over nine levels. The vertical gardens were created using Jakob stainless steel mesh and 6mm cables to support Fytogreen’s planter boxes.
The hanging gardens increase privacy for the residents and improve comfort through the shading and cooling effect of the greenery.
Eve Apartments, Sydney
The green facades installed on these apartment buildings in Erskineville consist of plants grown from the courtyard section that climb upwards alongside the residents’ balconies. The plants are supported all the way up by Jakob 4mm stainless steel cables.
Installations like this one can help beat the heat of summer, on top of simply looking stunning!
Want to know more?
Get in touch to find out more about beating the summer heat through green walls and facades or to discuss your project idea.