While our cities continue to get busier and become more crowded, we are straying further away from nature. Almost everyone is aware of the important role nature plays in human development, and how the lack of nature threatens our physical health and mental well-being – yet we fail to make space for it. Vertical gardens have evolved as a fantastic alternative to make our cities greener and more liveable. In fact, an increasing number of commercial buildings, apartment blocks, and residential areas have incorporated vertical gardens in their designs not just as an aesthetic feature, but to reduce temperature, noise, pollution, and counteract the urban heat island effect. There are so many ways in which vertical gardens can improve human health. Here are just a few to get your thinking started.
Improved Air Quality - Urban areas across the world are becoming unhealthy gas chambers due to intense air pollution. Vertical gardens act as natural air filters and help in absorbing harmful toxins and releasing oxygen in the air. Plants in vertical gardens remove or reduce toxins like Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, benzene, and others that are harmful to human health. They help in improving the air quality and creating a clean and breathable environment.
Reduced Noise Pollution – Vertical gardens act as sound barriers and are known to reduce the noise levels in the building. Plants have the ability to block high-frequency sounds, while the walls themselves interrupt low frequencies. Vertical gardens act as extra insulation containing a layer of air between the wall and the plants and are known to absorb around 40 percent more sound as compared to the usual façade.
Reduced Stress and Improved Physical Well-being – According to scientific research, green offices with plants make employees happier and more productive as compared to offices with no greenery. Various studies have revealed that people feel more productive and less stressed in the presence of greenery. Vertical gardens help in reducing stress and improving physical well-being of people, including faster recovery and healing.
Urban Heat Island Effect is reduced - Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect is a phenomenon where temperature in urban areas is higher than that of rural areas and occurs when cities replace natural land cover with pavement and other hard surfaces that absorb and retain heat. Vertical gardens protect buildings from direct solar radiation which causes the space to absorb less heat during the day and lose less heat during the night, helping to improve the energy efficiency of the building.