November 27, 2022

“Living Walls” Can Reduce Heat Lost From Buildings by Over 30%

After 5 weeks of measurements, researchers discovered the amount of heat lost through the wall retrofitted with the living façade was 31.4% lower than that of the original structure.
They likewise found daytime temperature levels within the newly-covered area stayed more stable than the location with exposed masonry, implying less energy was required to warm it.
The study is one of the very first to ascertain the thermal impact of living wall systems on existing structures in temperate scenarios and was carried out by academics connected with the Universitys Sustainable Earth Institute.
Composing in the journal Building and Environment, they state while the principle is reasonably brand-new, it has already been revealed to bring a host of benefits, such as included biodiversity.
However, with structures straight accounting for 17% of UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions– and area heating accounting for over 60% of all energy used in buildings– these brand-new findings might be a game-changer in assisting the UK achieve its net-zero commitments.
Dr. Matthew Fox, a scientist in sustainable architecture and the research studys lead author, said:
” Within England, roughly 57% all structures were built before 1964. While policies have changed more just recently to improve the thermal efficiency of new buildings, it is our existing buildings that need the most energy to heat and are a considerable factor to carbon emissions. It is, therefore, necessary that we start to improve the thermal performance of these existing structures if the UK is to reach its target of net absolutely no carbon emission by 2050, and help to minimize the likelihood of fuel hardship from rising energy rates.”
The University is renowned globally for its research into sustainable building innovations, and this research studys findings are already being taken forward as part of the Universitys Sustainability Hub: Low Carbon Devon task.
Supported by an investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the three-year ₤ 2.6 million program is checking out low carbon solutions through research study and assistance for local enterprises.
Specifically, this element of the project is looking to enhance the performance and sustainability of external living walls in sustainable structure style through research on the thermal homes, and carbon sequestration, used by various plant and soil types.
Dr. Thomas Murphy, one of the research studys authors and an Industrial Research Fellow on the Low Carbon Devon project, added:
Our research recommends living walls can likewise offer considerable energy cost savings to help decrease the carbon footprint of existing structures. Further optimizing of these living wall systems, however, is now required to assist maximise the ecological benefits and decrease some of the sustainability expenses.”
Reference: “Living wall systems for improved thermal performance of existing structures” by Matthew Fox, Jack Morewood, Thomas Murphy, Paul Lunt and Steve Goodhew, 3 November 2021, Building and Environment.DOI: 10.1016/ j.buildenv.2021.108491.

” Within England, roughly 57% all structures were developed before 1964. While guidelines have actually changed more recently to improve the thermal performance of new constructions, it is our existing structures that need the most energy to heat and are a considerable factor to carbon emissions. It is, therefore, necessary that we start to enhance the thermal efficiency of these existing buildings if the UK is to reach its target of net zero carbon emission by 2050, and help to reduce the probability of fuel poverty from rising energy costs.”
Our research study suggests living walls can also offer significant energy savings to assist reduce the carbon footprint of existing structures.

The Sustainability Hub at the University of Plymouth has actually been retrofitted with an exterior living wall façade, made up of a versatile felt material sheet system with pockets permitting for soil and planting. Credit: University of Plymouth
Retrofitting an existing masonry cavity walled building with a green or living wall can decrease the quantity of heat lost through its structure by more than 30%, according to brand-new research study.
The research study, conducted at the University of Plymouth, centered around the Sustainability Hub– a pre-1970s building on the university campus– and compared how efficiently two areas of its walls retained heat.
Regardless of being on the very same west-facing elevation, one of those sections had been retrofitted with an exterior living wall façade, consisted of a flexible felt material sheet system with pockets allowing for soil and planting.

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