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Growing use for geosynthetics: “living walls”

News | April 1, 2008 | By:

With the recent explosion of eco-awareness, demand is growing for a new geosynthetic-dependent product: living walls.

Living walls–also called “vertical gardens”–are walls of living plants anchored in geocomposite systems. Different manufacturers use different systems. Patrick Blanc of Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens, for example, layers rotproof polyamide felt and waterproof PVC over a metal frame.

Living walls offer numerous benefits. When fitted on the outside of a building, they help insulate it. They are water-efficient and attractive, can absorb carbon dioxide, thereby reducing urban “heat island” effects and other air pollutants, and can even serve as water filtration systems.

Special considerations for installing living wall systems include watering, though some prefabricated living wall panels include built-in drip irrigation, light exposure, and weight. Living walls typically weigh about 70lbs/ m2 (plants included).

For examples of manufacturing and installation of living walls, go to:;;;

Shelby Gonzalez is a freelance writer specializing in environmental and sustainability issues. She lives in Bolinas, Calif.,

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