North Wessex Hills by Gordon Smith


Here’s a short update on a project we have just completed in the Wroughton, near Swindon. Our client has a beautiful elevated site with long views out over the North Wessex Hills. Working in glorious sunshine and a fresh breeze it was a good week to be outside busy landscaping.  Our brief was to transform a sloped storage area into a neat hard-standing for our clients new glass-house. We used oak sleepers from #pennyhilltimber and Autumn Brown natural sandstone slabs supplied by #lovestone. We created a continuous level area with irrigation pipe and electrical cable services ready for the installation. We look forward to seeing this site in a few months time when the glass house will be filled with lush foliage and the surrounding patio housing our clients collection of containerised plants.

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Benefits of Living walls by Gordon Smith

GREEN AESTHETICS

Living walls create a WOW factor unrivalled by other interior or exterior finishes. They are not only beautiful but also help companies communicate green credentials to their customers. Championed by well-known retailers, hoteliers and commercial businesses – green walls demonstrate a company’s sustainability targets and corporate social responsibility.

IMPROVED AIR QUALITY

Living walls breathe air into cities and purify air in interiors – leading to improved working environments and happier staff. The University of Lancaster found living walls to be more effective than trees at reducing nitrogen dioxide in dense urban areas with high pollution levels. This is due to the nature of city landscapes, the tall buildings create ‘street canyons’ which traps pollution at street level, living walls can increase the deposition rate by as much as 40% of nitrogen dioxide and 60% for particulate matter as the cleaner air from above the street canyons is introduced.

LIVING WALLS PROVIDE GREAT INSULATION

Keeping buildings cool in the summer and warmer in the winter – creating proven energy efficiencies. Our research and development programme includes research into the thermal benefits of living walls, undertaken at the University of Sheffield and sponsored by Scotscape, this year long study exposed irrefutable evidence of the effectiveness of living walls to cool buildings in the summer and insulate buildings in the winter.

IMPROVED URBAN BIODIVERSITY

Living walls can ‘mimic’ biodiversity in areas where green has been stripped away and replaced with the built environment, supporting insects and birdlife. Scotscape offers a bug habitat to all of our living wall clients to further promote the message of the benefits that living walls bring to urban environments.

REDUCING THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT

Heat islands occur on the surface and in the atmosphere. On a hot, sunny summer day, the sun can heat dry, exposed urban surfaces, such as roofs and pavement, to temperatures 50–90°F (27–50°C) hotter than the air,2 while shaded or moist surfaces—often in more rural surroundings—remain close to air temperatures. Adding living walls and green roofs to urban structures mimics the conditions presented in rural surroundings, mitigating the urban heat island effect and making cities more temperate in the summer months.

FLOOD MITIGATION

Living walls are absorbent along-with green roofs and rain gardens – absorption helps to slow down rain water run-off, making urban areas less prone to flash flooding.

REDUCTION OF NOISE POLLUTION

Living wall structures can reduce noise levels in buildings. Plants are regularly used to reduce noise on motorways and within urban environments. Living walls reduce noise levels by reflecting, refracting as well as absorbing acoustic energy. This further assists with reducing stress in working environments leading to happier healthier staff and improved staff retention.

Health and wellbeing of living walls by Gordon Smith

It has long been considered the ultimate yet seemingly out of reach test of the business case for green building: if the human benefits could be reliably quantified this would prove beyond all doubt the ROI for investing in building green. This report does not claim to put this argument completely to rest, but it does put forward the best and latest information on the building design
features that are known to have positive impacts on the health, wellbeing and productivity of office occupants and points to financial implications where possible.

Further – and what distinguishes this report from others – it provides a high-level framework for building owners, occupiers and their advisors to start tracking the impacts of buildings on employee health, wellbeing and productivity in order to use that information in financial decision-making. In other words, it sets the groundwork for businesses to begin to answer this tantalising question as to the true payback for building green. This has been made possible by our sponsors, and an extensive team of
experts from the around the Green Building Council global network, who have given up their time to review evidence, debate recommendations and produce this report.

by Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Offices

The next chapter for green building

Key Findings