February 13 2018

How Living Plant Walls are Damaging Buildings

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On paper, living green walls sound like a great idea. They’re beautiful, they bring natural vegetation back into urban areas, and they even increase oxygen and reduce heat-sink effects. But in reality, living green walls are also creating some pretty big problems for buildings, including the following: 

  • Structural damage caused by roots
  • Ground settlement problems caused by soil moisture differentials
  • Building damage caused by moving and falling branches
  • Drainage system clogs from leaves, seeds and fruit
  • Building fabric deterioration caused by excessive moisture retention
  • Vermin and pest damage caused by animals living in the plants
  • Higher heating bills caused by the blockage of winter sunlight
  • Damage to building waterproofing 

These are costly problems. Let’s take a closer look at some of the damage being caused by living green walls.

 

Structural Damage

While the plants themselves may not be very heavy, their soil, water and structural supports all add up to significant weight. In many cases, green roofs require extensive renovations of a buildings support structures just for installation. Over time, the weight and the added moisture can compromise buildings’ waterproofing.

 

Maintenance Obligations

Green walls and roofs require a great deal of maintenance. Because of the dangers to the structure, thorough and professional maintenance is a must. Plants require a constant water supply, so piping or rainwater harvesting need to be installed and maintained.

It’s also important to keep an eye on drainage issues so your building is kept free from leaks, mildew and mould. Green walls must be kept fertilised, composted and mulched, and all of the tools and equipment for landscaping must be kept somewhere.

 

Ongoing Costs

Living green walls can be expensive to install, and even more expensive to maintain. Their ongoing costs may include more than you’d bargained for:

  • Increased insurance premiums affected by installing systems that might reduce the performance of your building
  • Fertiliser and soil additives
  • Increased water bills
  • Repair and replacement of piping and rainwater collection systems
  • Additional waterproofing measures for your building
  • New plants when the first batch reach the end of their life cycles
  • High costs for labour. Richard Kirk, national president of the Australian Institute of Architects, observed, “Australia doesn’t have a low-cost labour market, and vertical gardens are very labour intensive.”
  • The possibility of decommissioning. Do you plan on your living green wall lasting indefinitely? If not, decommissioning it will surely come with extensive costs as well.

The Answer? Artificial Green Walls

If you love the look of green walls but don’t want to deal with the high costs of installation and ongoing maintenance, artificial green walls are for you.

With artificial green walls, you don’t have to install support structures or water pipes. You don’t have to worry about damage to your structure caused by roots, excessive moisture and pests. If you get tired of the look eventually, you simply take it down, and the walls behind your wall look as good as new.

Our artificial green walls come in a variety of beautiful, lifelike styles. From evergreens and moss to ferns and lavender, you can create a wall that makes your space come alive. You can also mix and match different varieties or place a logo or sign in front of them. The options are endless, and since these artificial plants are lightweight and durable, you can use them indoors or out.

Our artificial panels are also the first and only green wall with a fire certification in Australia.

Clearly, if you love the look of green walls but don’t want to deal with the ongoing costs or potential damage to your building, artificial green walls are the answer. 

To learn more about our products or to start designing an artificial green wall of your own, get in touch with us at Evergreen Walls today.

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