Completed green wall

Overview

What are green walls?

Green walls are vertical structures designed to support living plants on the outside of a building. The plant roots are embedded in the structure in a medium such as soil or substrate. The plants are usually watered by an integrated water delivery system. Alongside green roofs and green facades, green walls are part of a group of approaches used for greening and cooling cities, and they are referred to as ‘green infrastructure’.

What are the benefits of green infrastructure and green walls?

The Growing Green Guide outlines a number of documented benefits of green infrastructure in urban areas, including to:

  • Help cool our urban areas
  • Help manage storm water by capturing water where it falls and using it to irrigate green infrastructure and
  • Reduce energy consumption in buildings – green infrastructure behaves like insulation and can reduce internal building temperature fluctuations

There are other reported benefits that relate to humidity, aesthetics, noise reduction and local air quality improvement. There is also a growing body of research showing that increasing the number of living plants in an urban area can improve our mental health and wellbeing.

Our Project

Increasing the amount of green infrastructure in our urban areas could help us cope with a warmer climate. To share knowledge about green infrastructure, we have constructed a moveable green wall made up of native grassland species. We can move it to different locations to expose people in Melbourne’s suburbs to green walls and how they can work.

International studies have shown that bare walls will be up to 20° C hotter than walls with vegetation. We want to explore how green walls can work locally in Melbourne’s suburbs. Our wall will help local communities learn about the benefits of living green infrastructure.

In this trial, our green wall can be taken to other locations. We will gather information on the changes in temperature and humidity around the green wall. We are also interested in the views of the people who are exposed to the green wall in their neighbourhood.

We will also demonstrate how to install and maintain the wall and share this information with people who are considering including green walls in their own buildings.

One of the main goals for this project is to show the benefits of green walls in the urban environment. We will use a range of innovative ways to share learnings with council officers as well as the local community. The wall is not permanent and can be hosted by other councils around Melbourne. If the trial goes well, we hope to also work with councils in other parts of Victoria.

Climate change will make the urban areas of Melbourne much hotter

We hope our trial will build understanding and knowledge about green walls in the Greater Melbourne area, and show how green infrastructure can make our cities more comfortable during weather extremes.

For this trial we have chosen a modular type green wall for this project.

Below are some images of the wall modules as they were growing. We will soon add a short video showing how it was put together.

Image Gallery

It took 3 months to establish 24 modules of Melbourne native plant species.

Each module is lined with a special material and filled with a substrate that we believe will suit these plants perfectly. Young plants are then planted into the modules while they are flat on the ground..

A close-up of an Elmich System module.

As the plants grow, the modules are tilted slowly to vertical. This process ensures that the plants are strong enough to sustain themselves when they are placed vertically on a building.

Wall is ready

Wall is ready to be installed.

Close-up photo of completed green wall
Information stall set up in front of the green wall for passers-by to learn more about green infrastructure.
Woman walking in front of the completed green wall

Installation

The green wall modules have now been installed on an independent steel frame against the Coburg Library wall.

A thermal image showing the temperature of the green wall on 16 April 2019

Impact

Thermal imagery captured on a hot day in April 2019 shows the cooling impact of plants in the green wall.

Timeline

March - April 2019

May - December 2019

January 2020

Installation at Coburg Library.

Find out what events are happening at Coburg Library.

Monitoring and recording at the site.

Passers-by have engaged with pop-up activities to learn more about the cooling benefits of green infrastructure and the importance of native plants in our city.

Green wall on the go - Installation at a new site.

Key resources

For more information about green walls and roofs and climate related work around Melbourne try these links:

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Page last updated: 06/11/19