Tag Archives: Living wall

“Living Walls” Rule…

18 Jul

Okay, many of you know that here at ISBU Central, we’re building a rather expansive facility in Montana, with the goals of providing a home for a “Sustainability Center”. The idea is to give families a good, close look at not only building ISBU homes, but then integrating sustainable practices into their lifestyles to allow them to overcome hardship and live better lives.

It’s a lifelong dream becoming reality and it’s changed the way that I look at my surroundings.

Montana is lush, green and beautiful. Structure is imposing, monumental and usually NOT designed to augment it’s placement. So, we’re taking hard looks at HOW we build, where we put it and then… how we help those structures exist symbiotically with their  surroundings.

One of our goals is to live “unseen” right out in the open. That means that we’re addressing perimeters in a different way than most people.

I’ve been thinking about “living walls” (sometimes referred to as “green screens”) for a long time now.

Living walls are certainly garnering  supporters in the fight against poor air quality. Living walls have already proven themselves to be a key weapon in the fight against poor air quality in our cities.

In the July 2012 edition of the journal Environmental Science and Technology, researchers investigated the potential health improvements that could be generated if more vegetation was strategically positioned in our busy roads. The research found that there could be a 30% reduction in our streets’ pollution levels through the intelligent use of living walls.

As well as turning carbon dioxide into oxygen through photosynthesis, plants clean the air by soaking up nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. The bonus of using living walls compared to say… trees,  is the huge amount of space and time they save.

Did you know that a 200 square foot living wall will remove the same number of pollutant particulates from the air as an average-sized tree? Or that the ivy that these screens usually incorporate is also effective at absorbing pollutants? Better still, a green screen can be installed pretty quickly (like, over a weekend), while a tree can take many years to reach any stature.

Green screens are being installed in many public venues. They install them at stadiums, civic centers and public spaces. They’ve even been used in  multi-story car parks on the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. Okay, so I can’t have a Formula One race car in my barn… but I CAN have the green walls that they race around…

I suppose I’m just settling, but it’ll do… for now! LOL!

And remember that living walls are not just about improving the air quality. If you really think about how you use them, they can deter graffiti, promote more sensible road use, enhance security and privacy, and promote a sense of well-being and calm.

Living walls can also form an integral part of a roof garden when your space is at a premium.

And, best of all, they are beautiful. Let’s face it… walls can be ugly and downright unattractive. But with a living wall, an inert, lifeless space can be transformed into something vibrant and attractive. In this way, living walls have the potential to transform spaces, be they public or private,  for the better – converting the drab into the desirable while also purifying the very air we breathe.

And, that’s what we have in mind for the farm. Farms should be organic, living breathing things. What better way to define them than by incorporating living walls into their design, to designate and define space?

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