Green facades are the future

Jun 29, 2011

Green facades and roofs are a current trend in building. Researcher Marc Ottele focused specifically on facades and sees considerable benefits in creating vertical vegetation. Among other things, the plants help to absorb hazardous fine dust from the air. Ottele obtained his doctorate from TU Delft (The Netherlands) on this subject on Tuesday, 28 June 2011.

According to Ottelé, 'So-called vertical greenery is becoming an increasingly attractive option in designing modern buildings. Vertical vegetation contributes to the improvement of the thermal conduct (insulating properties) of buildings, to increased biodiversity as well as to their aesthetic and social aspects, but also helps to reduce air polluting substances such as fine and carbon dioxide.'

In his research, Ottelé was able to experimentally confirm that on exterior walls do indeed absorb fine dust. 'With image manipulating software and recordings taken by an electron microscope, we succeeded in investigating fine dust particles directly on the leaves. We can also identify the size and the number of particles.'
The accumulation of fine dust particles on leave surfaces is important for public health. Densely populated urban areas in particular are affected by dust particles smaller than 10 micrometres, as these particles are inhaled deep into the respiratory tract and are detrimental to health.

Ottelé confirms other potential advantages of green facades. 'Our measurements show that vegetation can also reduce ambient wind speed. The results also demonstrate that vertical vegetation has a positive effect on the insulating properties of buildings.'

The latter applies particularly to so-called living wall systems. Ottelé explains: 'There are two main types of vertical greenery: green facades and living wall systems. Facades are made green by means of climbing plants, either growing directly against a wall or indirectly by means of constructional aids. Living wall systems are integrated or prefab systems that are fitted to a construction or supporting frames in which the plants take root. Living wall systems are a relatively new and little researched technology.'

Explore further: Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tracing ultra-fine dust

Oct 05, 2009

Limit values for fine dust emissions are based on total particle weight. It is the ultra-fine particles, however, that are particularly harmful to health. A new technique separates them by size and identifies ...

Electrostatic surface cleaning

Oct 07, 2009

It's often the little things that count in industrial manufacturing processes. Particles less than half the diameter of a hair in size can significantly impair quality in production. For example, there should ...

Study: Heavy rains can produce more dust

Oct 26, 2005

A recent NASA study of some of Earth's dustiest areas indicates heavy downpours can eventually lead to more dust being released into the atmosphere.

Recommended for you

Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

Sep 19, 2014

There's some truth to the effectiveness of folk remedies and old wives' tales when it comes to serious medical issues, according to findings by a team from Detroit Medical Center.

History books spark latest Texas classroom battle

Sep 16, 2014

As Texas mulls new history textbooks for its 5-plus million public school students, some academics are decrying lessons they say exaggerate the influence of Christian values on America's Founding Fathers.

Flatow, 'Science Friday' settle claims over grant

Sep 16, 2014

Federal prosecutors say radio host Ira Flatow and his "Science Friday" show that airs on many National Public Radio stations have settled civil claims that they misused money from a nearly $1 million federal ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

caeman
not rated yet Jun 29, 2011
What life expectancy does a green wall have on a building? Putting up large buildings not cheap and the people paying for it want it to last decades and beyond. Will a living wall of vegetation hasten the break down in the vertical structure?