Could green facades cool down cities in the future

November 22, 2016, Pensoft Publishers
Bayesian network displays the likelihood of success for façade greening in the status quo in Berlin. Credit: Sprondel et al.

Predictions for temperature rise and the particular sensitivity of urban ecosystems to heat stress pose a pressure to find the best solution for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Could green façades be a sustainable and easy to implement strategy to keep our cities cool? A new study in the open access journal One Ecosystem uses the method of Bayesian networks to assess applicability of this nature-based solution, within the context of Berlin's urban environment.

Urban heat is a recognised challenge for mid-latitude cities possibly aggravated by . Among the strategies to adapt the urban fabric, façade greening has been identified as an important measure to adjust the building stock and new buildings to adverse climatic impacts. Yet, little is known on factors that influence implementation probabilities for this adaptation measure.

Façade greening could be rather suitable way to establish vegetation in cities despite the development pressure. Not used for other purposes, unlike most of the horizontal green and open spaces in cities, façade greening needs very little space on the ground eliminating pressure and user competition.

In the past years, most German cities have developed adaptation strategies which particularly focus on nature-based measures for urban planning to tackle the impacts of . In 15 of the 24 German adaptation strategies façade greening is mentioned as a measure to improve microclimatic conditions. But what is the likelihood of implementing and what is the attitude towards this measure?

Analysing attitudes and possibilities in the context of Berlin, a group of scientists found out that experts in Berlin estimate the likelihood of an implementation of façade greening under current conditions at 2% only. A different scenario including financial incentives from a backyard greening program, however, has shown to raise the chances to 14 %. Nonetheless, the factor of "willingness" of involved actors and the right combination of supportive and legislative factors appeared as a crucial pre-condition for the implementation of this measure.

"Our analysis allowed for ranking the influence of each of the factors on the outcome the research and we were surprised to see that in this case the "attitude" of determinant actors is of outmost importance, while financial prerequisites, legal and technical conditions also have an influence on the decision to install green façades but remain lower on the list." comments the lead author of the study Nora Sprondel, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany.

Explore further: Plants help lower temperatures

More information: Nora Sprondel et al. Urban climate and heat stress: how likely is the implementation of adaptation measures in mid-latitude cities? The case of façade greening analyzed with Bayesian networks, One Ecosystem (2016). DOI: 10.3897/oneeco.1.e9280

Related Stories

Plants help lower temperatures

February 19, 2013

(Phys.org)—As Melbourne swelters through another heat wave, scientists are using thermal imaging to work out how plants can be used to reduce the severe temperatures in our cities.

Study assesses climate change vulnerability in urban America

August 31, 2016

Flooding due to rising ocean levels. Debilitating heat waves that last longer and occur more frequently. Rising rates of diseases caused by ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes, such as Lyme disease, Chikungunya, and Zika. Increasing ...

Recommended for you

Nanoscale Lamb wave-driven motors in nonliquid environments

March 19, 2019

Light driven movement is challenging in nonliquid environments as micro-sized objects can experience strong dry adhesion to contact surfaces and resist movement. In a recent study, Jinsheng Lu and co-workers at the College ...

OSIRIS-REx reveals asteroid Bennu has big surprises

March 19, 2019

A NASA spacecraft that will return a sample of a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to Earth in 2023 made the first-ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting from an asteroid's surface. Bennu also revealed itself ...

The powerful meteor that no one saw (except satellites)

March 19, 2019

At precisely 11:48 am on December 18, 2018, a large space rock heading straight for Earth at a speed of 19 miles per second exploded into a vast ball of fire as it entered the atmosphere, 15.9 miles above the Bering Sea.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.