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Vertical Plantscapes

SCMP – March 29th 2008

Contrary to H.C. Bee’s assertion (Talkback, March 27), green walls have never been gimmicks. Contemporary vertical “plantscapes” or green walls are a considered approach to the aesthetics of sustainability.

Of course, with any new technology there are maintenance issues, however Mr Bee misses the mark here. There are quantifiable returns from a green wall.

Quite apart from the significant positive impact that green walls have on the visual fabric of our urban spaces, there are also dramatic psychosocial benefits, such as reduced employee absenteeism and fewer reported symptoms of daily stress. Productivity is boosted.

Vertical plantscapes also offer other advantages.

Research has shown that vertical plantscapes worldwide have led to quantifiable improvements in the efficiency of buildings. They provide thermal and noise insulation, and moderate a building’s core temperatures.

They dramatically improve a building’s marketability and profile, and provide a much needed biological element to our urban spaces, adding to the ecological integrity of Hong Kong as a whole.

Vertical plantscapes also provide significant advances in ameliorating air pollution, scrubbing volatile organic compounds and greenhouse gases from our homes, offices and public spaces. At a fundamental level, green walls are also positive carbon sinks.

Clearly, the advances that vertical plantscapes offer to our community should not be overlooked.

I would encourage Mr Bee and other detractors to embrace the paradigm of vertical plantscapes, seeing not the teething issues of a burgeoning industry, but a much-needed panacea to our heavily polluted cities.

Boyd Boxshall, Central

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