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Natural air conditioning: plants on facades and on roofs

Stefano Boeri: Nanjing Vertical Forest © Stefano Boeri Architects

The cities are growing all over the world. This not only increases the population, but also the density of the development. Greened façades and roofs can help to improve the climate and air quality in urban areas. Current projects therefore allow plants to grow on and on houses.

Green sunscreen

March and April are especially suitable as planting months. Reason enough to take a look at the topic of green façades and roofs. After all, this brings great benefits: plants are a natural protection against sunlight and produce a lot of oxygen. They withstand the heat in the summer and improve the quality and circulation of the air in the city.

Roof terrace of the National Opera and National Library in Athens © SNFCC, Yiorgis Yerolymbos


Study shows positive effects 

Scientists from the University of Cologne and Forschungszentrum Jülich have shown last year that green façades not only positively regulate the house climate. Exhaust or particulate matter are also absorbed and filtered by them. ” Façade planting improves both the urban and indoor climate and contributes to the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity in the city as a habitat for fauna and flora,” said Professor Hans Georg Edelmann from the Institute of Biology Didactics at the University of Cologne.

Stefano Boeri: Palazzo Verde, Antwerp © Stefano Boeri Architects


Promotion of green buildings

In order to promote the greening of façades, roofs and interiors, the Federal Association of Building Green (BuGG) has been founded in Germany. The trade association has set itself the goal of significantly increasing the still relatively small proportion of green houses. Among other things, it organizes an annual competition that distinguishes special buildings with a high proportion of green.

„BuGG Façade greening of the year 2018“ © GDL Belke/Vertiko


Worldwide trend

The greening of architecture is also a trend internationally. The major cities in Asia have been experimenting with green new buildings for some time in order to exploit the positive effects on the urban climate. Architects like the Italian Stefano Boeri make whole skyscrapers disappear behind dense vegetation and plan completely green new cities. Planted façades or roofs could increase the quality of life in the cities in the long term and perhaps even reduce the impact of climate change.


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