Green Roofs and Living Walls Bibliography

Green Roofs and Living Walls

The Future of Earth:

Living green has become a luxury for many people. Whereas in the past, living green was inherent to daily activities, as people relied upon non-technological means to advance, today, technology with all its improvements has made it easier for many to circumvent the system of safety in food, clothing, cosmetics, and other products. Thus, living green has become a sort of calling for those who can both afford it and who have time for it.

Yet this is a very important concept. As many toxins enter our bodies daily, green should be something that can help us combat those toxins. Yet in big cities, such as New York, Chicago, Atlanta, etc. this is impossible, as large buildings overtake gardens and other such potential “green” sources. For this reason it is especially important to have a discussion on green roofs and living walls with regards to big cities, as these could improve life for big-city dwellers.

Going green should not be a movement, it should be a way of life for all. As technology progresses, we must be aware that the ways in which we can all be green also expand.

We will most likely live on this Earth for a long time, and it is important to interact with nature to improve both the planet and our lives. According to a website that advocates for green roofs and living walls in Chicago, people all over the world “have understood the insulative nature of sod roofs, the ability to grow plants as part of ‘living homes’, and the symbiotic relationship between building materials and natural materials.”

According to this Chicago website promoting green roofs, these facilities, could help save money in the long run because they keep buildings cool in warm climates and vice versa for buildings in cool climates. The site further details the usefulness of these in places like Iceland, the UK, Nova Scotia, Tanzania, and many other countries. To give a bit of historical context the site also discusses the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, an ancient wander that was admired for both its beauty and for water provisions for the ancient city in which it was situated. Based on this model, many 20th century architects attempted to incorporate this “green” into all their projects. Individuals such as Ricardo BoFill and Gunnar Birkerts, according to the same website, “designed buildings underground and with green rooftops.”

In a world where technological advancement is so fast, it is possible to install these green roofs in all buildings, and though perhaps expensive at first, these efforts will surely pay off in the long run.

In order to examine green roofs further, however, one must note that there are different types. These can also help a building decide what kind of roof it wants. For instance, the two types are:

1. Extensive: according to Chicago Green Roofs, these host plants that are 2-6 inches, and are usually made of a mineral-based mixture of sand, gravel, crushed brick, leca, peat, organic matter, and soil. Plants that must survive in extensive green roofs must be hardy and self sustaining

2. Intensive: according to the same website, these green roofs are planted on a soil and grow medium (8-24 inches) plants. On these roofs, one can plant trees and shrubs of a variety, and create a more complex ecosystem, though irrigation system must also be installed.

Cost, however, as proven by the picture below, is also not too much more than that of a regular roof, which is an important fact to note.

From this simple table, one can note just how much longer, for instance, a green roof can last and how much cost savings it can allow the building to achieve. Thus, it is important to consider these green roofs despite their high initial costs, as potential money saving options in the long run.

Having discussed social and economic benefits, it is now important to also discuss what kind of plants the roofs can host, before moving onto living walls. Because green roofs, as well as walls, host a variety of strata, it is important to consider this to see what kind of plants they can sustain.

For instance, a green roof can have the following levels: deck of the roof, waterproofing material, root barrier, drainage layer, filter cloth, growing materials, and finally, plants.

For this reason there are a variety of plants that these green roofs and living walls can host. Such plants include: prairie popseed, catmint, stonecrops, cornflowers and susans, among others.

These plants are of all colors and are very beautiful when planted together.

Having seen these benefits, it is quite hard to still argue against green roofs. Yet if one finds oneself in this positing there are a variety of specific things that green roofs and do for humans. They include: cleaning and retaining rainwater, reducing the overheating in cities and reducing pollution, adding beauty, lowering air temperatures, improving air quality, lowering heating and cooling bills, expending the life of a roof membrane.

These are seven good reasons why green roofs are so important to our overall health and better lifestyle quality. There are also many things that one can do with green roofs that can keep them going for a long time, including such things as waterproofing, for example, and many more.

Living walls, in addition to green roofs, can make a building truly fantastic to live in. Living walls are just that: living. These walls host a number of plants on their facades, and many are very beautiful. According to a website that specializes on the positives of these installation, the walls have six main benefits: water management, ease of installation, modularity, erosion-control, recyclability, and flexibility. Furthermore, each of these six headings is detailed so that the reader can understand.

For instance, with regards to recyclability, these panels can be installed and are reusable. Just think: recyclable grass, who would have though it? But it is important to think about these advantages, as many individuals do not think about directly.

Yet one does not have to necessarily pay for such panels, or for an installation, because the wonderfulness of living walls is that one can install these by himself or herself. In fact, one video on YouTube details the whole process in minutes. A representative from a living walls company built for instance, a panel that show how panels can interlock and hold water as well as various plants to make a fantastic wall garden, and note necessarily take up space on the ground. The way that these walls work, which is fantastic, is that living walls conduct way in a serpentine way, not directly down. Another benefit is that one can grow vegetables and not just plants, so one can really have a wall garden.

Thus, one could have living walls very easily.

Green roofs and living walls should not be just a luxury for the few. The technology we have today, as well as the ease of access to these various things enable any individual to be green in this way. With YouTube videos, for instance, one can see just how easy it is to make these projects a reality, and how healthy it is as well. This paper has demonstrated this and has spoken about the importance of these facets from an economic, social and political point-of-view.


A Brief History of the Modern Green Movement in America | WebEcoist.” WebEcoist | Strange Nature, Rare Animals & Weird World Wonders. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. .

Company, Seo. Enviroscapes Northwest | Green Roofs Portland, Green Roofing Portland. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. .

Chicago Green Roofs. “History of Green Roofs.” Accessed November 19, 2011.

Chicago Green Roofs, 2011.

Irwin, George. “ The Original Green Living Wall: Basis for Great Design, By George Irwin.” The Resource Portal for Green Roofs. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. .

Chicago Green Roofs. “Types.” Accessed November 19, 2011.

Chicago Green Roofs. “Comparison.” Accessed November 19, 2011.

Living Green Roofs! Web. 22 Nov. 2011. .

Chicago Green Roofs. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Accessed November 19, 2011.

Chicago Green Roofs. “Common Plants for Green Roofs.” Accessed November 19, 2011.

Chicago Green Roofs. “What can green roofs do for Us?” Accessed November 19, 2011.

A Green Roof – Green Living Technologies. Web. 22 Nov. 2011. .

ELT Living Walls. “ELT Easy Green benefits.” Accessed November 19, 2011.

Living Walls, Youtube. Accessed November 19, 2011.

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