According to Wikipedia, vertical gardens are “walls partially or completely covered with vegetation that includes a growing medium, such as soil. They are also known as living walls”. However, green walls are not something created exclusively by men; they also exist in the natural world, as the plants are perfectly capable of developing themselves into gullies and cliffs.
The construction of vertical gardens tries to emulate this natural ability of plants, but to get a successful outcome is necessary to have a certain knowledge of botany, engineering and hydroponics that requires years of experience and testing. This is the only way to make a green wall that lasts over time.
From vertical gardens to vertical ecosystems
Before talking about the evolution of the vertical garden, we must know what is an ecosystem. According to the Dictionary, an ecosystem is “a system, or a group of interconnected elements,formed by theinteraction of a community of organisms with their environment..” Therefor, an ecosystem is the relationship established between a group of living organisms, called biocenosis, inhabiting a physical component defined as biotope. In this particular case, the biocenosis of a vertical ecosystem is constituted by plants, fungi, bacteria and animals in interaction with the substrate built for developing our artificial biotope.
The vertical ecosystem arises when Ignacio Solano thoroughly analyzes some of the existing vertical gardening systems and begins to notice its shortcomings. As he says, “a vertical ecosystem is based on the complexity of all the interactions of nature on a wall: fungus-plant / plant-plant / fungus-bacteria / plant-fungus-bacteria … If you want durability, you can not treat it simply from the perspective of gardening, it is essential to apply biological concepts. “
Benefits of a vertical garden
benefits of a vertical gardens
There are a number of benefits associated with the installation of green walls in cities, such as:
Reducing the heat island effect in large urban centers (Professor Hiroyuki Yamada)
Reduction up to five degrees in the interior temperature of a building in summer and keeping it in winter, which can save up to 500 euros per square meter a year (Akira Hoyano (Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology))
Reducing the risk of flooding, because they retain large part of rainwater
Enabling disused urban spaces
Low water consumption, thanks to the use of a closed circuit
In the case of vertical ecosystems, they do not attract or allow the proliferation of insects and bacteria, since this system provides a biological repellent
Multiple health benefits
One square meter of vegetation produces the oxygen needed by one person for one year (Darlington, 2001)
One square meter of vegetation traps 130 grams of powder in a year (Darlington, 2001)
A four-storey building (60 square meters) with a facade covered by a vertical-garden filters annually 40 tons of harmful gases (Wolverton et al. 1989) and can catch and process 15 kilograms of heavy metals per year (Darlington, 2001)
Having vegetation in the workplace improves the performance of people and reduces their discomfort (Lohr et al .. 1996; Bringslimark, et al., 2007)
A vegetal cover also serves as an insulator, reducing up to 10 decibels of noise pollution (Hoyano Akira, Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology)