Installing vertical gardens made of live vegetation — also called green walls or living walls — has become increasingly popular in commercial buildings such as corporate offices, health care facilities and retail stores. There are several reasons for this.
Green walls offer a range of physical and mental health benefits, from improving indoor air quality to boosting employee morale and productivity. They also help with noise reduction, increase property value and enhance the aesthetics of indoor and outdoor spaces. Finally, living walls leave a small footprint in any building, effectively utilizing unused space in a uniquely positive way.
Despite these benefits, many designers wonder if living wall systems are as beneficial to the environment as they appear to be. The answer depends on the type of system used to support and nourish the living wall.
There are two main types of living walls systems: soil-based and hydroponic.
Soil-based systems, as the name implies, use soil as a basis for root growth. Although effective, soil-based systems often require a lot more maintenance. With soil comes the potential for weeds, pests, mold and other common invaders. These systems are also limited by the weight of the soil, which may impact the size and vertical reach of the wall. The major drawback to soil-based systems, however, is the amount of water that is wasted.
Here is the problem with watering plants in soil: If you use too much water, you deprive the roots of oxygen. If you use too little, the plants can become dehydrated and even die. On top of that, any unused water seeps into the soil and is wasted. In terms of resource conservation, this where hydroponic systems clearly shine.
Water conservation is one of the key benefits of growing plants hydroponically.
Hydroponic systems conserve water by providing only what the plants need and recirculating any unused water back into the system, making them a highly efficient and cost-effective alternative to growing plants in soil. At Sagegreenlife, our self-irrigation technology is 10 times more water efficient than a soil-based living wall system.
Hydroponic growth systems also offer more control over the growing environment and greatly reduce the risk of pests, fungus and disease. You can read our previous blog to learn more about the history and benefits of hydroponic systems.
Your design clients can embrace the eco-conscious benefits of a Sagegreenlife living wall.
Like every new idea developed to benefit human and environmental health, vertical gardens had their growing pains (pun intended) in the beginning. Though beautiful on the outside, there are a lot of components behind the scenes that need to work efficiently in order for them to be the health-promoting design element they are meant to be.
Over the last few decades, architects, engineers, horticulturists and others have made significant improvements to living wall technology that reduce waste, conserve water and energy, improve sustainability, increase plant survival rates and lower the overall costs of owning and maintaining a vertical garden system.
Today, new installations of living walls are on the rise.
A growing number of designers and building managers have begun to recognize the myriad benefits of living walls — not the least of which are the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits available for those who install them.
Specifically, Sagegreenlife custom walls qualify for LEED credits in sound abatement, materials and resources, energy and atmosphere, sustainable sites and innovation in operations.
Talk to us about a living wall installation for your next project.
Sagegreenlife is committed to designing beautiful and environmentally friendly solutions for any space, with the lowest cost of ownership and maintenance. Contact us today and ask about our customizable built-in and mobile solutions.