Living walls—aka green walls or vertical gardens—have become a popular item for many facilities around the world. These walls are made of living plants growing into a support structure that includes the necessary growing elements like soil, irrigation, and drainage.
Living walls have gained popularity not only because of their aesthetic, but also because they can earn points towards LEED and WELL Building Standard certifications. But living walls aren’t for everyone. They’re expensive to properly maintain, and there is growing evidence living walls either have no—or possibly even a deleterious—effect on indoor air quality (IAQ). Instead, facilities are starting to turn to moss walls, which deliver many of the same benefits of living walls, but without the maintenance or air quality issues.
The benefits of green walls
- Stress Reduction. Biophilia, or “love of nature,” is a term that has started to spring up in facility design. Recent studies have shown that seeing nature can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase productivity. And the plants don’t have to actually be alive for employees to receive these benefits.
- Noise Cancellation. Sound dampening is another benefit, as green walls have a lot of surface area, which is great for absorbing unwanted noise. Both living walls and moss walls deliver aural benefits.
Living vs. Moss
Though living walls were initially touted as delivering improved IAQ, the fact is even a properly maintained living wall won’t have much positive effect at all. The overall volume of air in any given facility is simply too great for one wall to effect. On the other hand, walls that are improperly watered can actually become moldy, which can have serious negative consequences to IAQ.
On the other hand, moss walls do not require watering, so the only maintenance needed is the occasional dusting, though some varieties even undergo an anti-static treatment to make even dusting unnecessary. They require a relative humidity of 40-50%, and they thrive in area with no direct sunlight. Also, moss walls are often available in a wide variety of colors and can be customized to fit your facility’s specific needs.
For more information on greening up your facility, contact Vanguard Resources.