🌿🏙 Green facades can make cities cooler

🌿🏙 Green facades can make cities cooler

Facades filled with plants can cool down the cities as well as improve mental health amongst citizens.

Linn Winge
Linn Winge

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This summer more than 970 cities worldwide are going to get summertime temperature highs of 35˚C (95°F), C40 Cities reported. Temperatures like that will affect all parts of day-to-day life and cities are well aware of that. In order to provide some respite to their residents, cities are exploring ways to green up their buildings.

Rising temperatures due to climate change can have a massive impact on cities because of the “heat island” effect. This effect occurs when buildings absorb and trap heat from the sun during the day and release it into the city at night. The heat island effect can artificially increase temperatures directly above the buildings by 10-15˚C.

Luckily, greening up the cities’ facades can efficiently reduce the heat island effect as well as integrate nature into the cityscape. Green facades are also called green envelopes.

Making the facades of buildings greener has many benefits - one of these is lower cooling costs because the plants shadow the buildings. Green envelopes can also reduce noise pollution by absorbing sounds and clean the air of particles and fine dust. Adding green envelopes to buildings within a city is a very attractive solution because of the limited space for green areas such as parks, gardens and trees.

A green wall in Mexico City. Credit: Mark Hogan. 

But why is it important to integrate nature into the cities - besides their cooling effect? Because being around greenery is proven to have great mental health benefits as well as lowering stress. A greener city is a more pleasant environment to live in-, and it boosts biodiversity!

By only adding the green envelopes to 20% of the buildings in a city, it could still have a transformative effects. Rudi Scheuermann, from the British engineering firm Arup that modeled the benefits of this solution, explains to Euronews:

“In London, we calculated that green envelopes would lower the air temperature by three degrees, a significant difference. We also found a 4-degree reduction in Berlin, 10 degrees in Melbourne, and a huge 11-degree drop in the incredibly dense environment of Hong Kong.”

To conclude, the green envelopes makes cities more pleasant to live in and improves biodiversity. In short, a win-win-win…

Picture: The Optimist Daily