The first notable benefit is air quality improvement. Due to the prevalence of industry and vehicles running on fossil fuels, there is an unfortunate abundance of fine particulates and heavy metals in our air – especially in urbanised areas that are more densely populated. By introducing vegetation like that found on living walls, it is suggested that air quality can be improved due to the ability of many plants to adhere these pollutants to their leaves and stems (and therefore sequester a portion of atmospheric pollutants). The importance of this is astronomical – the inhalation of certain fine air particulates is strongly linked to the development of life threatening illnesses such as lung disease – therefore, anything that helps decrease this terrible risk is surely one to be seriously considered.
The introduction of living walls is also extremely advantageous for ecology. Perhaps obvious, however, plants play an integral role for the majority of life on our planet – the introduction of more green infrastructure, therefore, has an overwhelmingly positive effect for wildlife by providing shelter and a potential food source. Depending on the type of system and species that one choses to implement, overall biodiversity can be greatly increased in an area by green infrastructure such as a living wall. Notably, this can have a positive effect on some of the UK’s declining species such as house sparrows which often struggle in urban areas.
Living walls are also able to protect infrastructure from erosion such as that caused by heavy rainfall or wind. By simply adding a buffer or layer of protection between the elements and the wall, wind and rain damage are reduced to the point of being significantly less destructive to masonry and any other vulnerable surfaces – of course, this can potentially save a significant amount of money and resources in a long-term context.