Ivy on Brick – Insulating Your Building

The Trail Town Outreach Corps recently spoke with joint business owners Lisa and Deb of Confluence Hardware and Sisters’ Cafe in Confluence to discuss points of interest concerning the Sustainable Business Network.

Lisa and Deb explained the challenges they face insulating an old building originally constructed with asbestos material:  containing the asbestos during the remodeling period requires a complete lock down of the building in order to contain the asbestos fibers.  The whole process would cost them considerable time and money.

Is there a less invasive way to improve a building’s insulation?


GREEN WALLS

What are green walls?

A green wall, simply put, is a wall covered with plants.  Green walls can be indoors or outside, and may be composed of a single species or a variety of plant types.

Newer, “green” designs for living walls typically involve a lattice-like support structure, a growing medium, a water irrigation system, a nutrient feed, and regular care, especially if the plants used are non-native.

However, the classic ivy-covered wall also qualifies, and is a good deal cheaper to install and maintain.

And contrary to popular belief, ivy in the genus Hedera does not compromise the structural integrity of a building, when growing or during removal.

Why are green walls helpful?

Green walls quantifiably improve the insulation of a building, repel moisture, filter pollutants, provide oxygen, and promote habitat.

In addition, ivy from the family Hedera will not die in the winter, which means you can keep a little green around all year long.

How do I create a green wall?

As with Confluence Hardware, some walls stand immediately beside a concrete sidewalk; in this case, you can pot the ivy alongside the building in planters.  An alternative is putting the pots on the roof and training the ivy to grow down, which it should not have difficulty doing.

Check out these links for more information:

“Vertical Gardens, Grown on Walls”, NYTimes – May 5, 2010

“Ivy Can Protect Old Walls”, Science Daily – May 17, 2010

“Building a Green Wall”, video clip of building a green wall in an outdoor garden

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