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Green Walls to Cut Inner City Air Pollution

A new trend is catching on in some big cities. Introducing, living walls bustling with vegetation—not only aesthetically appealing, but also ben...

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|Apr 2|magazine5 min read

 

 A new trend is catching on in some big cities. Introducing, living walls bustling with vegetation—not only aesthetically appealing, but also beneficial to businesses and the well-being of employees.

Cooling city blocks reduce loud noise, improve energy efficiency and reduce air pollution in between tall buildings. Thomas Pugh, a biogeochemist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, and a team of researchers created a computer model of a green wall in a Western European city, and recorded its chemical reactions. The study revealed that the wall in a street canyon trapped and absorbed significant amounts of nitrogen dioxide and other particulate matter, “putting forward an alternative solution that might allow [governments] to improve air quality in these problem hot spots,” he told National Geographic.

Other benefits include:

  • Reduction of urban heat with the reintroduction of vegetation to urban environments, promoting natural cooling processes

  • Improved exterior air quality, mitigating air pollution levels by trapping particulate matter and capturing gases

  • Improved indoor air quality and noise reduction

  • Fewer polluting by-products released into the air with the addition of thermal insulation for buildings

  • Local job creation (landscape architects, irrigation consultants, etc.) and demand for local supply of plant materials, greenhouse production, growing media, etc.

  • Building structure protection

  • Improved health and well-being of employees

 

Read More in Energy Digital's March Issue

 

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