Benefits of Living Walls
The visual appeal of greenery is obvious, as humans are innately drawn to nature. Whether the motivation is attracting and retaining talent, enhancing the built environment or prioritizing sustainability, green living walls provide benefits on a number of levels.
Attract and Retain Talent
Over the past few decades, research has emerged highlighting the benefits of nature in the workplace, both to employees and employers. The positive effects on individuals’ mental and physical wellness translates to gains for companies in the form of increased productivity as well as a reduction in direct and indirect costs due to illness.
Support Mental Wellbeing
A renowned organizational psychologist Carry Cooper found that those with access to natural elements in their workspaces experience increased perceptions of wellbeing up to 15 percent. And The University of Technology, Sydney reported workers with plants throughout their workplace can experience a 30-60% reduction in stress levels and negative feelings.
An important statistic when you consider The American Institute of Stress estimates that job stress costs the U.S. industry more than $300 billion each year. Plants are not only positive agents in the reduction of stress, they can also shift an employee’s sense of wellbeing as a whole and increase their productivity and creativity.
Bolster Physical Health
Poor air quality can lead to a plethora of health issues ranging from headaches, coughing and fatigue to dizziness, dry throat and eye irritation. These seemingly minor symptoms can have significant consequences for employers, as poor indoor air quality costs companies an estimated $15 billion in sick leave and poor work performance each year (Agopian, 2016).
Serving as an integral part of a robust overall wellness effort, plants can help reduce sick leave and support physical health in office environments. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Oregon that gave some workers a view of plants and trees from their desks, while the control group had no view of any greenery, found that on average, employees with views of plants took 57 hours of sick leave per year, while those with no view took an average of 68 hours.
Enhance the Built Environment
Today, most employers, retailers, developers and other leaders recognize the importance of the built environment. At a time when less than half of workers report being satisfied with their jobs, buildings designed with human experience in mind are arguably more vital than ever before. And, while there are many paths that leaders might take to create a more active and engaging space for their employees, tenants and visitors, one of the most efficient methods is incorporating plants into the built environment.
Improve Air Quality
Plantlife acts as a natural air purifier. Harmful toxins can cause physical symptoms like headaches, eye irritation and coughing, but the right greenery can help to remove these pollutants, including ammonia, xylene, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. A room filled with plants can have 50-60% fewer molds and bacteria in the air.
OnOffice states, “plants also work to moderate temperatures by acting as natural insulation barriers, ensuring the air is not only clean but comfortable; providing occupants with the added benefits of reduced carbon emissions, along with lower heating and air conditioning costs.
Reduce Noise Levels
According to research published in Applied Acoustics, living walls – depending on size, density and environmental factors – can reduce sounds indoors by an average of 15 decibels; this is the difference in volume between a vacuum cleaner (75 dBA) and a lawn mower (90dBA).
Sagegreenlife’s living walls are proven to provide substantial sound absorption benefits. Our planted Biotiles were measured in tests performed at commercial furniture giant Steelcase’s independent, ANSI-ASQ accredited acoustic laboratory to offer near perfect sound absorptive properties. For more details on the lab test results including the Noise Reduction Coefficient (NCR) and Sound Absorption Average (SAA) values, view the report.
We learn in elementary school that plants take in carbon and release life-giving oxygen in a cycle that keeps our ecosystems running, but we learn little about the other harmful agents they remove from the atmosphere. Plant life is especially important in urban environments, where the World Health Organization has found only 20% of global city residents live in areas that comply with air quality guidelines.
Reduce the Carbon Footprint
The Urban Heat Island Effect makes an impact across our cities, contributing to unprecedented energy demands. Among the primary mitigation strategies listed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is greenery, specifically green roofs and living walls.
Outdoor living walls act as a barrier for the buildings they adorm, effectively regulating the temperature so that HVAC systems experience less strain throughout the seasons. Living walls further contribute to conservation and sustainability efforts by keeping structures warmer when it’s cool outside, and cooler when it’s warm outside. This results in lower energy costs and a reduction of a building’s carbon footprint. As an example, a vegetated facade can reduce the exterior surface temperature by up to 54°F.
Similarly, indoor walls act as insulation from temperature swings, helping to regulate the environment inside a building. A study published in the Indoor and Built Environment journal found that living walls cooled the space by 40-43°F, a shift that significantly reduces the impact on air conditioning systems – especially during periods of extreme heat.