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Architectural plants

As we search for solutions to the energy and climate problems facing the planet architectural answers are being found through the use of plants. Rooftop gardens and trees offer insulation and emotional succour but new research is extolling the benefits that growing plants on the facades of buildings has its own benefits.

Vertical greenery is the term used to describe the use of plants, usually climbing plants of some description, on the exterior surfaces of buildings. In some cases the plants grow directly on the external wall or a new trend is the use of prefabricated supporting frames to encourage plant growth. Either way, vertical vegetation offers a range of environmental and human positives.

Studies have shown that vegetation on a building’s walls will reduce ambient wind speed and improve the insulation of the building. The plants also support biodiversity and there is evidence to show that they reduce pollution.

In urban areas there has been shown to be high levels of dust particles that are less than ten micrometres in diameter. These particles are able to enter the lungs and cause irritation.

By using an electron microscope to track them researchers have shown that these dust particles attach themselves to leaf surfaces thus reducing the overall pollution exposure for humans, and animals, in the area.

So a green façade will improve a building’s insulation, protect against the elements, support local animal life, and reduce air pollution. Add to this that it also is aesthetically pleasing and vertical vegetation will increasingly feature in architectural planning.