Green Building Solution Trend: Vertical Garden


Vertical garden is becoming more popularly used in green buildings in cities all over the world, tackling the issue of increasing the amount of green area. In fact, a lot of green building developers use the vertical surface of the building to grow the greeneries. Finding an area to be planted with vegetation has become easier and minimum square meters on ground will no longer be an obstacle. Besides, vertical garden could reduce the heat absorption of the building. As a result, there will be less energy to spend for air-conditioning. Furthermore, vertical garden is suitable for countries with dry climate, for water will evaporate less likely on the vertical area than the horizontal.

The Largest Vertical Garden in Singapore

Recently, CDL’s Tree House Condominium in Singapore set a record for the largest vertical garden in the world. A nature reserve, forested area and a park surround this 24-storey condominium. As a bio-shading device, its largest vertical garden covered the west façade of the building to reduce the heat absorption on that area. It also filters pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air to reduce the carbon footprint around the building.

The base of this bio-shading device is a sloped canopy, which is completed by the skeletal frame as a channeling device to harvest water for the extensive landscaped area irrigation. In addition, there are platforms and cat ladders behind this 2,289 m2 vertical garden, through which the planter boxes can be accessed. They help facilitate maintenance and to keep the sustainability of the vertical garden.

Bio swales as a natural slopped terrain are also built to support the rainwater harvesting system. Bio-swales are usually used to remove pollution from surface runoff water. They also provide the flow path for water in form of a wide and shallow ditch. The ditch will keep the water in the swale long enough until the silt and pollutants are trapped. Hence, it helps in filtering and collecting the rainwater to be recycled for landscape irrigation purposes.

Together with another green features, this condominium is expected to result in energy savings of over 2,400,000 kWh per year and water savings of 30,000 m3 per year, or approximately over S$500,000.

The First Sustainable High Rise in Sri Lanka to Break The Record in 2015

Located 10 km from Central Colombo, Sri Lanka, Clearpoint Residences construction is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2015. This 46-storey residence was designed by Milroy Perera Associates and Maga Engineering. It’s aimed to be the tallest residential vertical garden in the world by the the time it’s finished. The vertical garden consists of planted terraces that circle the entire structure. The choice of plants for this vertical garden is unusual yet interesting. An endangered species of mango tree, which is the native fruit tree in Sri Lanka has been chosen to be planted on all balconies.

Similar with the Tree House’s vertical garden, there will be an inbuilt self-sustaining watering system in Clearpoint. As an automated drip irrigation system, it will be used throughout the building so the occupants don’t have to water the plants themselves. It makes the vertical garden maintenance easier. Furthermore, a drip system will save much water comparing to sprinkler system.

Equally important is the water resource for the garden irrigation. To minimize water consumption, there will be a grey water recycling system. Grey water will be collected and processed to be less than 10 BOD (Bio Oxygen Demand). Afterwards, the recycled water will be mixed with rainwater and sent through the drip irrigation. This recycled system is expected to reduce the water consumption by more than 40%.

Besides all the systems that support the Clearpoint vertical garden, the purpose behind its design is also interesting to know. Of course, the main reason is to prevent a direct sunlight to go through the apartment window. But why did the designer choose the terraces format instead of the regular growing medium, such as loose, mat or structural media? Apparently, the terraces format is designed to provide the occupants an extra external entertainment space, especially to grow their own plants.  The natural tendency of plants could give a lot of benefits for the occupants. The plants could be a noise and dust barrier as they provide bio-shading to cool the terrace and protect the building from radiant heat. ( – YTA)


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