Living walls……City roofs

Cityroofs’ Aquadyne living wall system has been installed at the London offices of architects and designers Child Graddon Lewis (CGL).
The architects have an internal ‘green team’ exploring various sustainability initiatives. The installation acts as a tool to demonstrate to their clients how the technology works and to illustrate the visual and ecological benefits that living walls can bring to urban environments.
Cityroofs’ Aquadyne is a lightweight permeable slab manufactured entirely from recycled mixed polymer plastic material using low-energy technology. It has high permeability and flow rates – the same as gravel and ten times that of sand – and no negative environmental impacts through leaching. The Aquadyne acts as both a water attenuation board and a capillary growing medium, with no need for soil. In essence, this means that water passes through the structure, keeping it moist but never saturated.
Cityroofs has developed Aquadyne growing systems for both living walls and roofs. It allows a wide variety of plants to be grown on the boards, then continue to develop successfully after installation, taking water and nutrients from the system without using excessive water. This avoids the system becoming water-logged or filled with deciduous matter.
At CGL, the 12m2 demonstration living wall comprises of a simple timber and plywood structure with a waterproof membrane, over which pre-grown panels of Aquadyne are fixed. Individual panels can be removed and replaced where necessary and insect boxes are incorporated.
Panels with meadow-grass have been installed above those with a hardy, low-maintenance grass. The wall is intended as a clear demonstration of the capabilities of the system to grow a diversity of plants over time and its potential for improvements to the ecological value of even the most urban environments.
The system harvests water from an existing downpipe feeding a butt with a pump – powered by photovoltaics to reduce environmental impact further – feeding water up and across the top of the planted wall. Excess water is then collected in a channel at the base and recycled.

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