Increased infiltration, water retention and flood protection
Yes, a living wall absorbs rain water because the plants and substrate act as a water buffer. This delays the discharge of rainwater to the sewage system, purifies the rainwater, and water also evaporates through the plants. So this all helps to stabilize the groundwater level, reduces the peak load on the sewage system and therefore contribute to providing flood protection benefits to the surrounding areas. (Sempergreen, 2020)
Reduced drought risk, cooling effect, urban heat island mitigation
Covering walls with plants can significantly reduce the ambient temperature during hot summer months. Overall, it means a 3°C reduction in the area. Living walls not only shield grey surroundings from direct sunlight (50% is absorbed and 30% reflected), but ‘evapotranspiration’ (a combination of evaporation of water and release of water vapour) by plants also helps cool walls. (European Commision, 2013; Sempergreen, 2020).
Biodiversity conservation or increased biodiversity
Yes, the non-invasive plants that are included in the living wall (species like Heuchera ‘Fire alarm’, Senecio cineraria, Cerastium tormentosum, Erigeron karvinskianus, etc.) promote the habitat of birds, butterflies and insects, especially in the city environment which is mainly concrete and asphalt. (Terapia Urbana, 2020; Sempergreen, 2020).
Increased quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
Yes, living walls using site-adapted plant species can be a valuable element of green infrastructure in urban areas (European Commission, 2013).
Yes, enhancing natural capital in the urban area. A living wall also lower the incidence of heat stress associated with heat waves. Areas with more greenery suffer less hinder from aggression, violence and vandalism. The living wall can contribute to air purification because the plants filter particulate matter from the air and convert CO2 into oxygen (e.g. 1 m2 of living wall extracts 2.3 kg of CO2 per annum from the air and produces 1.7 kg of oxygen). This living wall has been implemented behind the San Martín bus stop, therefore also contribute to improving human comfort, by reducing ambient noise (acts as a sound barrier). An outdoor living wall can absorbs 41% more sound than a traditional facade and this means that the environment is much quieter. This results in a reduction of 8 dB, which means that ambient noise is halved. (Sempergreen, 2020; Terapia Urban, 2020).
Improved aesthetic value
This outdoor living wall was designed with an interesting site-adapted planting palette. This sunny spot allows planting different species with bright colors and plenty of flowers. Therefore, species like Heuchera ‘Fire alarm’ with red-pink leaves and stems, Senecio cineraria or Cerastium tormentosum with their grayish color, are nicely contrasting with the daisies of Erigeron karvinskianus. (Terapia Urbana, 2020).
Increased access to green infrastructure
Increased social interaction and inclusion
Yes, provision of green space for enjoyment. Working or living in a green environment brings people together. It is known that ‘small scale greenery’ in particular has a positive effect on social cohesion in neighbourhoods. (Sempergreen, 2020).
Provision of health benefits
Living and working in a green environment may have a positive effect on the well-being of people. Greenery offers relaxation and reduces stress. (Sempergreen, 2020).
Low aesthetic value
Yes, this outdoor living wall is located in a traditional Santander neighborhood (Terapia Urbana, 2020).
Good health and well-being (SDG3)
Yes, urban greenery contributes significantly to human well-being.
Sustainable cities and communities (SDG11)
Yes, living walls contribute to more sustainable way of life in cities through better management of issues such as stormwater, pollution and rising temperatures.
Climate action, resilience, mitigation and adaptation (SDG13)
Yes, the reintroduction of vegetation into urban environments promotes the occurrence of natural cooling processes, such as photosynthesis and evapotranspiration (Green roofs for healthy cities, s.a.).