WELL Building Standard: Green Walls & Sustainability
The WELL Building Standard consists of 7 core concepts that address how the design and environment within buildings affects the health & well-being of humans: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, & Mind. This certification system is similar to LEED, but focuses on maximizing the happiness and wellness of employees within a building or space.
Living walls help to satisfy 3 of the 7 foundations of the WELL Building Standard: Air, Comfort, & Mind. Let’s explore what green walls can do to create a better, more sustainable, workplace.
Air Quality Standards
Plants naturally remove carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen through photosynthesis, but did you know this process also effectively scrubs the air of VOCs? VOCs are volatile organic compounds, such as formaldehyde and benzene, which can be detrimental to our health if there are too many particles present in the air. The addition of a living wall within a space has shown to reduce the amount of VOCs, especially if the plant varieties include ferns and ivy.
Sound Reducing Surfaces
Green walls have been proven to provide sound absorption, reducing the amount of ambient noise within a room, when fully installed on vertical surfaces (plants and substrate included). This means living walls can effectively be used as acoustic panels to create a more comfortable noise environment. While they cannot insulate sounds from coming in or out of a room, they can significantly decrease the amount of echo and sound movement within the room in which they are installed.
The presence of plants directly affects the temperature and humidity within a room. Living green walls can help maintain the optimal balance of cool air, warm air, and humidity, thus increasing the overall comfort within a space (as opposed to a space with fewer or no plants).
Biophilia I - Qualitative
WELL’s Biophilia requirements were modeled after the Living Building Challenge, and seek to address humanity’s psychological need to be around life and nature. Living walls directly fulfill the requirements of incorporating nature within the building or space by providing an environmental element, incorporating patterns from nature, and allowing human-nature interaction.
Biophilia II - Quantitative
The quantitative element of biophilia includes wall or potted plants being incorporated into the design of the interior space, which of course can be accomplished easily with a living green wall installation.
For more information on how green walls can positively impact your project and increase the overall sustainability of your building or space, contact the Living Wall experts at Suite Plants.