Green Walls, Green Roofs
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Green Walls, Green Roofs

A green wall, also known as biowall and vertical garden, is a wall grown with vegetation and soil or any organic growing medium. The vegetation is permanently attached to the wall and is only maintained regularly. The wall can be free standing or part of a building. On the other hand, a green roof or "living roof" is a building roof planted partially or completely with vegetation. It is composed of a growing medium where plants are maintained and additional layers such as waterproofing, root barrier, drainage, and irrigation systems.

Global warming is a hot issue these days. The process is reversible; hence, we can no longer stop its existence but still, some means to lessen its effect can be done. One way of doing so is planting more plants that can ultimately help in reducing carbon dioxide in the air. Yet, with more lands being less arable and with the development of urban areas, the need to resort to some other means of farming has become indispensable. This has given birth to several methods like the green walls and green roofs.

A green wall, also known as biowall and vertical garden, is a wall grown with vegetation and soil or any organic growing medium. The vegetation is permanently attached to the wall and is only maintained regularly. The wall can be free standing or part of a building. There are two main types of green walls: green facades and living walls. The former are made up of climbing plants growing directly on the wall or through specially designed structure. On the other hand, living walls are more complex in design. The modular panels are normally made of steel containers, geotextiles, irrigation systems, a growing medium and vegetation.

Apart from aesthetic value, green walls serve several functions. The vegetation on these walls can reduce overall temperatures of the building, very much helpful in urban environment. Plants have the ability to absorb solar radiation and re-radiation from roads and structures, thereby cooling the surrounding area. Moreover, these walls can be a means for water reuse since plants may purify partly polluted water by absorbing dissolved nutrients. Green walls are as well excellent way of utilizing empty and unused walls.

On the other hand, a green roof or "living roof" is a building roof planted partially or completely with vegetation. It is composed of a growing medium where plants are maintained and additional layers such as waterproofing, root barrier, drainage, and irrigation systems. The term “green roof” does not include roofs colored green (as with green roof tiles or roof shingles) and roofs with container gardens (where vegetation is planted on pots).

Depending on the depth of planting medium and the degree of maintenance required, green roofs are classified as intensive and extensive. The former requires considerable depth of soil, are labor-intensive, and require irrigation, drainage, and other maintenance. Intensive green roofs may grow herbs, shrubs, and small trees. On the other hand, extensive green roofs carry a light layer of vegetation (such as mosses), are lighter than intensive green roofs, require minimum maintenance, and are virtually self-sustaining.

Green roofs serve several functions. Firstly, they reduce heat and lower urban air temperature to combat island heat effects. They also reduce cooling loads on buildings from fifty to as much as ninety percent. In other words, green roofs are great thermal insulators for buildings. Furthermore, green roofs help reduce storm water run-off and filter pollutants and heavy metals from rainwater, as well as pollutants and carbon dioxide in the air. Natural habitat for wildlife can also be created on green roofs. Above all, they offer agriculture space which urban areas lack.

Green roofs are very much prevalent in many countries like Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Iceland, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Greece, Spain, Egypt, USA, and Australia.

Hopefully in the future, common agricultural crops will be planted on green walls and green roofs. An instant garden at home will be a good source of nutrition for urban dwellers. Just imagine harvesting cabbages or tomatoes or spring onions on your walls and roofs, in the comfort of your own home.

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Comments (7)

Lovely ! Hopefully the use of Airconditioners would come down...Apparently , the temperature in Dubai goes up by 2-3degrres because of all the emissions .. 

Excellent suggestion for green life.

Wow, awesome photos! I would love to see more areas implementing green walls and roofs! Excellent. : )

We have a green wall on a condo building downown I believe. Thanks for the information here!

The green look sure cooled my hot eyes, here the temperature is too hot.

Great article.  Love it!!  There is a small tourist town a couple of hours from my home which has a market building with green roof. . . and goats that live on it!

These biowalls are beautiful, there are more and more here too. Another very interesting post with beautiful pictures. Thank you my friend!

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