Living Green Walls or Artificial Green Walls: When to Choose What?
Green Walls
Updated on 28th May 2017 by Planters
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Living green walls seem to be a new and novel concept, but they’re older than you might think. The concept of having plants grow from a building’s walls dates back to the early 20th Century when it was invented by Stanley Hart White. However, in 2017, they are becoming an increasingly popular choice for business and commercial property owners.

So What is a Living Green Wall?

Green Walls Put simply, living green walls are panels that are fixed to the side of a property in which plants can grow. By providing the necessary water and nutrients, these wall panels can become a perfect growing place for a wide range of flowers and plants. The walls use hydroponics which is a method of growing plants without soil. Instead, the nutrients are added directly to the water, allowing plants to attach their roots to the wall panels, and get everything they need from the water solution provided to them.

Living Plants can Protect Your Property and Save the Environment

A living green wall not only looks great, and shows your company’s visible commitment to protecting the environment, but it can also help improve air quality. Studies have shown that the incorporation of plants in the building can help improve air quality in the gaps between large buildings in cities. When enough property owners adopt this idea, it is possible to significantly improve the air quality of huge sections of the world’s biggest cities. The studies have shown that, by using living walls, levels of pollutants like nitrogen dioxide in city streets can be reduced by up to 60%.

As well as helping improve air quality, living walls can protect your property and even reduce energy costs. The panels and plants attached to your property can protect brick and mortar, which is affected by changing temperatures. Without protection, the exterior of a traditional building will expand and contract as the temperature drops and increases, causing fissures, cracks, and breaks in mortar and stone. A living green wall will protect a building from these changing temperatures and can stop flowing water from causing erosion.

Living green walls are also being utilised by environmentally-conscious companies to help reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect. This effect shows that urban areas are becoming significantly warmer than more rural regions, owing to the construction of large buildings, and other human activities.

Waste heat being generated by machinery, for instance, is combined with the absorption of the sun’s heat, creating a warmer environment both indoors and outdoors. This is particularly problematic in the United Arab Emirates and surrounding MENA area, owing to large-scale industrialisation and construction projects continuing in major and growing cities.

A living green wall combats this by reflecting sunlight. Through a process call evapotranspiration, which is the process by which water is evaporated by any heat that is present, a living green wall can reduce the temperature in urban environments.

Maintaining a Living Green Wall

A living green wall needs an irrigation system to survive. This system will release the exact amount of water required to keep the plants alive, and it will incorporate nutrients into the liquid at the same time. Maintaining this system requires an annual inspection, but this decision is made by the owner.

By checking the system and its irrigation pipes at least once a year, any potential leaks can be spotted and replacements made. For more regular visits, owners might expect to pay experts less than $5,000 per year.

A basic irrigation system will include a split fitting that is connected to an outdoor tap, with the water leaving the system through your normal drainage network. These systems cost just hundreds, but large living vertical gardens will pose extra costs. A more extensive system will introduce a backup water supply, timers, and dedicated water pipes to ensure that the green wall always gets the nutrients and hydration required to keep everything healthy.

Could a Artificial Green Wall Be More Suitable?

Replica Green Walls
A artificial green wall can offer a number of benefits over a traditional living vertical garden. These artificial walls won’t require extensive irrigation networks, and will also require less maintenance.

With a high-quality artificial green wall, you’ll be able to create a vertical green space either indoors or outdoors – and with a quality setup from Planters, you’ll never know the difference.

Why Choose Artificial Plants?

Artificial plants offer three primary benefits over living plants. While they cannot provide the same evapotranspiration effects, they are easier to manage and can be installed on a wider range of buildings.

- Maintenance

First of all, an artificial green wall won’t require extensive irrigation systems. This can save on annual costs and means that properties without easy connection to a water supply can enjoy the same visual effects of a living wall. Secondly, experts will not need to provide inspections throughout the year to ensure that an irrigation system is working effectively. Once it’s installed, your artificial green wall is ready to go.

- Lack of Light

Some properties might not have access to enough light for specific varieties of plants. In the MENA region, there are plenty of urban environment where large buildings cast big enough shadows to hinder plant growth. Artificial vertical gardens are ideal in this instance.

- Fire Protection

Artificial green walls can also offer fire protection. Interior green walls from Planters are inherently fire retardant, meaning they can stop fires from spreading quickly.

Which is Right for You?

Artificial green walls have been designed to provide as many benefits of a living green wall as possible. While some benefits cannot be recreated, thanks to the fabrics used by Planters, you can expect exterior and interior artificial plants to be resistant to discoloration, even in direct sunlight – which is a common problem in the Gulf climate.

Hotels, office buildings, and other commercial properties throughout the MENA region are turning to both artificial and real green walls to create better exterior visuals, protect the environment and cut back on energy costs.
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