A while back, I wrote an article about the 'heat island effect' that occurs in large metropolitan cities (read article)...and that constructing green roofs helps to combat this problem. Well, this months edition of Business 2.0 takes it one step further. Green Walls. Now, I am a bit skeptical...its hard for me to imagine going to a large city like San Francisco and seeing a big skyscraper covered in grass. However, with innovative architecture...I can't wait to see the possibilities.
What's the point of all this grass anyway? Think about heat absorbing urban buildings...the concept behind the heat island effect is that cities have a much higher temperature (up to 8 degrees higher) than surrounding rural areas because concrete buildings absorb and hold the sun's heat...leading to higher emissions, higher utilities, larger environmental footprint, etc. So, by covering a roof with grass, you reduce the heat island effect by reducing the building's overall temperature. The building is better insulated, which results in less energy to heat or cool the structure, reducing utilities, etc. Doing a quick back of the napkin calc, an all green building could save you $80,000 in utility costs and extract 40 tons of carbon from the air. Not too shabby!
Business 2.0 sees green walls as an upcoming trend in the green world. Enter G-sky! G-sky actually has a really cool website with a lot of good info. They are a commercial enterprise that can install plant-filled wall panels on any vertical surface--starting at $100 per square foot. Many people in the "green roof" industry feel like the market for green walls is huge. According to Business 2.0, the total square footage of green roofs in the US alone is growing at a rate of 125% per year. When you consider commercial and residential market potential, the economic and financial implications are equally huge. Check out G-sky and tell me what you think. Actually, if there are any of you involved in real estate (agents, investors, developers), answer this question for me. Would a building with green walls be harder to sell even though you have the financial/economical benefits of reduced utilities? I know it depends on the individual but comments are welcome.