For the past few weeks the team has been kicking around the idea of an affordable green wall or green facade in the back of the homes. Yesterday, ISA forwarded me a bit of research on various methods for accomplishing a green facade using ivy for what seems to be a very low cost.
Green facades differ a bit from panelized “living wall” systems that incorporate pre-vegetated panels containing plants into the building envelope. The term “green facade” refers to a training structure that supports vines or climbing plants growing up from the ground away from the building wall (not directly attached like a living wall). Most facade greening systems use either welded wire fencing or stainless steel cables that climbing plants will grow along. ISA found this article by George Irwin (www.agreenroof.com) on green walls and roofs that goes into a bit more detail on the types of green walls.
Of the cable and welded wire systems, I think we are leaning more towards the wire mesh. We should be able to find a roll of galvanized wire mesh similar to what is shown here for under $200 that will cover the entire rear facade of the 100k house. We will simply need to fasten the mesh in such a way that it stands a few inches away from the facade and then we can cut openings around the windows to keep the vines from growing over the windows.
This method is modeled after a more robust and expensive green wall system offered commercially by a company called greenscreen that offers an array of systems for creating attached and free standing green walls. The image below shows one of their installations that is similar to the effect we will be going for on our facade.
We are very pleased to find that this type of green facade can be created in a low-tech and low-cost manner that can be afforded on our modest budget. This should add both a beautiful architectural/landscaping element to the home while also keeping the home a few degrees cooler during the summer months.
Other interesting links on green facades and living walls:
- Institute of Physics in Berlin Green Facade
- Green facade using wire rope (translated from German)
- Wall Creeper Wire Systems from Anzor
- Vertical Gardens by Patrick Blanc
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