Essay about The Benefits of Green walls and Living Roofs

Submitted By kenjidoshi
Words: 807
Pages: 4

Ahmed El-mokadem

Lab 5 - Living Walls and Green Roofs

Current living conditions, with respect to resource consumption, as well as demographic studies have determined global population will exceed nine billion by the year 2050 (Bongaarts, 2009). Taking this into consideration, a positive correlation can be made between increasing urbanization and industrialization (Davis and Golden, 1954). In other words, the construction of many homes and buildings has been increasing since the industrial revolution. In order to make way for these complexes, large amounts of ecologically significant land, such as forests are clear-cut and are used to build infrastructure on. Living organisms such as plants, soil microorganisms, animals, and insects are essential for regulating atmospheric and nutrient cycles within the biosphere; therefore, it is important to establish coexistence between urban development and ecology. One way of achieving this is by integrating living walls and/or green roofs within the urbanized system. Living walls are simply considered to be patches of plants grown along constructed walls, which serve to provide many environmental benefits (Weinmaster, 2009). Maintaining a living wall or green roof may be considered aesthetically pleasing; however, they are more importantly used for improved indoor and outdoor climate, reducing greenhouse gasses, and increasing ecological value to living organisms by providing a habitat for them (Sheweka and Magdy, 2011). As a result of high specific heat capacity of concrete surfaces, removing ecologically significant areas and replacing them with paved land increases the temperature in the region when compared to adjacent rural land (Sheweka and Magdy, 2011). Because of this, urban areas can be 6°C higher in air temperature than rural areas (Sheweka and Magdy, 2011). Since urbanized development is exponentially growing, we can expect surface temperatures to increase, considering more building complexes will be built in these developing areas. One benefit of integrating a living wall or green roof is, during summers it will reduce the amount of heat being absorbed by buildings, which will reduce the indoor temperature of the building (Mazzali et al, 2013), overall reducing the energy used to power air conditioning systems. Another important benefit to take note of is a plants ability to reduce the amount of air born pollutants (Sheweka and Magdy, 2011). The implementation of living walls and green roofs in an urban community would only serve to better the air quality. As beneficial as they may seem, there are negative drawbacks of maintaining living walls and green roofs. Maintenance of these systems may be tedious and labor intensive. An indoor living wall would create issues such as constant cleaning, clipping, feeding (nutrients), and watering for an individual. Taking this into consideration, using clean water to keep the system hydrated would be wasteful in resources since plants obtain water from outdoor hydrologic processes. Finally, the use of indoor gardens would prevent the species in the system from being in direct contact with the atmosphere. Growing and operating these types of systems outdoors would allow more efficient nutrient cycling. Since much of the biomass in outdoor gardens are in direct contact with the atmosphere, plants are able to transfer, exchange, and utilize nutrients more efficiently than they would indoors where they are in a sense, secluded