Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture is an exciting and important field, with many people reviving traditional methods of building and others creating innovations to established practices. Kelly Hart, webmaster of the popular website, posts text and photos featuring what he discovers from around the world.

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Location: Crestone, Colorado, United States

Kelly Hart has been involved with green building concepts for much of his life. He has also worked in various fields of communication media, including still photography, cinematography, animation, video production and now website development. Kelly has lived in an earthbag/papercrete home that he built and consults about sustainable building design.

October 21, 2009

Living Walls

We have all heard about green roofs and know about their environmental advantages, but there is a new concept that is taking root, especially in urban environments: green walls or living walls. Better than the old ivy-covered buildings, which can be adversely affected by the vines, these walls are designed to feature a variety of different plants in a vertical environment, and provide all of their needs for moisture and support right on the wall.

These walls can be either exterior of interior, and they provide advantages in both situations. On the outside they will shade the wall from the intensity of the sun, and thus moderate the temperature considerably, as well as provide lovely textural contrast and beauty. Plant surfaces, as a result of transpiration, do not rise more than 4–5 °C above the ambient and are sometimes even cooler. On the inside they will filter and oxygenate the air, providing a healthier indoor environment, while also creating the calming effect that natural plants tends to have on most people.

Vertical gardens can be grown on just about any type of wall, with or without the use of soil. Many living wall kits come with modular forms that are assembled and applied to a frame that then is affixed to the wall. The most common frame for sale today is a panel that is self-supporting and can be set up independently or attached to a real wall. It is then filled with soil or a soil-less medium and planted. Once the initial panels are in place living walls require little maintenance. They are designed so that their upkeep is about the same as a landscaped garden.

When you combine the obvious environmental benefits of living walls with their sheer beauty I anticipate that we will be seeing many more examples of this wonderful art form. For more details and photos see


Anonymous Gina said...

OMG! That is so cool! I want one! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing project.

5:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow I love this, if only there were more houses, walls with this on. We are about to go and see some eco houses which are for sale in Cornwall, they look brilliant but I want one with a living wall!

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so amazing. I can't wait to talk to my architecture class about this.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Marc Azada said...

Wow! I didn't know that there is a thing called green walls or living walls in architecture. I really like it a lot! It looks amazing!

1:36 AM  

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