RSS Facebook Twitter Youtube

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

1. What is urban greening?

2. What is a vertical garden?

3. What is a green roof?

4. What is the difference between an active and passive vertical garden?

5. What is air biofiltration?

6. What is a green roof asset?

7. Why do active vertical gardens have a cooling capacity? What about a passive vertical garden?

8. What plants can be grown in a vertical garden?

9. How much water does a vertical garden use?

10. Do vertical gardens attract insects?

11. Can the components of a vertical garden cause Legionella infection?

12. Can vertical gardens cause allergies?

13. How much does it cost to maintain a vertical garden and a green roof?

14. What energy savings can a vertical garden give?

15. What is heat island effect?

16. What is Sick Building Syndrome?

17. How do urban greening systems tackle sick building syndrome?

18. How are urban greening systems involved in the bioclimatic design of buildings?

19. What are the lifespan of a vertical garden? What about a green roof?

20. What are the benefits of urban greening systems in work environments?

1. What is urban greening?

Urban Greening is becoming more widespread in cities around the world due to rising concerns surrounding global warming. Urban greening is the incorporation of natural elements, mainly plants, flowers and vegetation, into the surrounding urban environment and buildings. Elements and applications of urban greening are varied and range from traditional gardens to green roofs and vertical gardens.

Back to the top

2. What is a vertical gardening?

Vertical gardening is where plants are grown using a substrate that is attached to an outside wall or building. There are different types of vertical garden including indoor, outdoor, active or passive.

Back to the top

3. What is a green roof?

A green roof or green rooftop landscaping is provided on the roof of a building. We distinguish between different types depending on the thickeness of the substrate and the type of vegetation grown. A green roof must have an adequate multi-layer substrate for drainage, waterproofing and to protect electrical equipment

Back to the top

4. What is the difference between a passive and active vertical garden?

Passive vertical gardens are not integrated with ventilation systems while active vertical gardens force air to pass through the porous substrate to harness energy saving benefits. When combined with ventilation systems air biofolitration and cooling occurs which reduces energy consumption in traditional air conditioning systems. The ventilation system of an active vertical garden can operate autonomously without integration with the buildings HVAC system.

Back to the top

5. What is air biofiltration?

Biofiltration is a biological filter normally used in industry for air pollution control and  the removal of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and inorganic air toxins such as toluene, ethylbenzene, o-xylene and formaldehyde. Biofiltration involves passing a gaseous mass through a biological filter where microorganisms absorb and digest pollutants found in air compounds.

Back to top

6. What is a green roof asset?

A green roof is active when it holds a biofiltration properties and treatment of grey water through the buildings own green roof. It collects rainwater collection in storage for later reuse in irrigation.

Back to the top

7. Why does an active vertical garden have a cooling capacity? What about a passive vertical garden?

Through the process of evaporative cooling vertical gardens regulate the temperature in a building. It is known as transpiration. Where water is present in the vertical gardens it consumes energy to evaporate into the air initially reducing the temperature and humidity. The reduction of the air temperature will depend on the initial environmental conditions (temperature and relative humidity) to obtain a temperature differential. For instance, in summer with an outdoor temperature of 40 degrees with 30% humidity the systems developed Terapia Urbana could be reduced in temperature to 10 degrees.

Back to the top

8. What plants can be grown in a vertical garden?

A wide and diverse range of plants can live in a vertical garden. The choice of plants is dependent on existing environmental conditions like the temperature, humidity and light as well as the structural and aesthetic “look” you want to achieve. It is usually the weather that limits the number of species available, however small-sized plants well adapted to hydroponic culture conditions can be used.

Back to the top

9. How much water does a vertical garden use?

Water consumption in vertical gardens is entirely dependable on the species of plants, environmental conditions and irrigation system used. Terapia Urbana’s water systems significantly reduce water consumption as it constantly recirculates water. However, it is necessary to monitor the quality of the water to prevent excess salts and perform suitable filtering for the wellness of your plants.

Back to the top

10. Do vertical gardens attracts insects, pests and wildlife>

One of the benefits of urban greening is increasing biodiversity in cities therefore recovering the natural balance between wildlife, biological control of pests and improving the urban ecosystem. Like any plants, vertical gardens can accommodate small insects and invertebrates however our control measures prevent them from becoming a problem. In all of the systems we have installed we have not had any problems with insect pests.

Back to the top

11. Can the components of a vertical garden system cause a Legionella infection?

In our vertical gardens the risk of Legionella is nonexistent thanks to continuous disinfection treatment by the UV lamp which prevents the Legionella bacteria from growing and spreading.

The conditions required for Legionella to grow is highly unlikely in our vertical garden systems. The low water temperature which ranges between 15 and 20 degrees reduces growth and the low velocity of air flow through the substrate (between 0.1 and 0.3m/s) prevents the production of aerosols which aids growth of the Legionella bacteria.

To sum up, the risk of infection by Legionella in our active systems is not higher than the ones currently faced in present sources and public fountains found in our cities.

Back to the top

12. Can vertical gardens cause allergies?

It is dependent on the choice of species and the maintenance of the vertical garden. A good selection of plants that do not produce allergenic pollen should reduce the air pollution especially for those that suffer from hayfever. Most species that are commonly used in vertical gardens have no problems with allergies.

Back to the top

13. How much does it cost to maintain a vertical garden and a green roof?

Vertical garden costs are relatively low and are mainly due to maintenance of the vertical garden once it is installed. Those involved are mainly due to the supervision and control systems, network maintenance and pruning fertigation and plant replacement. Most species installed in vertical gardens require little pruning throughout their growth. However, the annual maintenance program includes an overall pruning to ensure balanced growth in the garden structure.

Back to the top

14. What energy savings can a vertical garden give?

Studies show that vertical gardens on building exteriors improve insulation by providing shade, cutting spending by 20% on heating and 20% on ventilation in summer months. All of which adds to an 8% annual reduction in the energy consumption of a building [1]. It was also found that vertical gardening systems may eventually reduce the demand for air conditioning in a building due to the reduction in temperature achieved in the immediate environment outside it (approximately 5.5 degrees) which results in a reduction of the energy consumed in cooling between 50 and 70% [2]. On the other hand in active systems  that have air biofiltration, reducing the need for air renewal, it is possible to achieve greater reductions in the energy consumption. Given that the air conditioning and ventilation installations are responsible for 60% of electricity consumption in the building services sector the potential savings are huge depending on the system used is really important.

1. Bass B, Baskaran B. Evaluating rooftop and vertical gardens as an adaptation strategy for urban areas. Institute for Research and Construction. NRCC-46737, Project number A020, CCAF report B1046. Ottawa, Canada: National Research Council; 2003.

2. Peck SW, Callaghan C, Bass B, Kuhn ME. Research report: greenbacks from green roofs: forging a new industry in Canada. Ottawa, Canada: Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC); 1999

Back to the top

15. What is ‘Heat Island Effect’?

The heat island effect is the inability of building materials used in cities and building to dissipate heat causing overheating in urban environments. This temperature increase is directly related to the lack of green areas in cities, as these efficiently regulate temperatures. Urban greening systems can have a significant improvement on the thermal behaviour in urban centres.

Back to the top

16. What is Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick building syndrome is a set of discomforts and diseases related to air pollution in enclosed spaces. These problems are primarily caused by poor ventilation and conditioning of the interior rooms, the presence of noxious gases or poor environmental conditions. They can cause disorders such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, persistent colds, allergies, irritation of the respiratory tract, skin and eyes etc. One of the major consequences of sick building syndrome is high rates of absenteeism and a significant decrease in productivity and job satisfaction.

Back to the top

17. How do urban greening systems tackle sick building syndrome?

Sick building syndrome is a set of discomforts and diseases related to air pollution in enclosed spaces. These problems are primarily caused by poor ventilation and conditioning of the interior rooms, the presence of noxious gases or poor environmental conditions. They can cause disorders such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, persistent colds, allergies, irritation of the respiratory tract, skin and eyes etc. One of the major consequences of sick building syndrome is high rates of absenteeism and a significant decrease in productivity and job satisfaction.

Back to the top

18. How do urban greening systems involved in the bioclimatic design of the buildings?

Bioclimatic architecture takes into account the climate and environmental conditions in order to reduce the environmental and energy impact of buildings. Urban greening systems play an important urban role as passive bioclimatic design tools help to improve the thermal insulation of the building reducing the temperature in hot climates. Meanwhile active systems add to this by supporting air exchange in interior spaces through biofiltration creating comfortable and healthy environments and directly lowering energy consumption.

Back to the top

19. What is the life span of a vertical garden? And a green roof?

Like any garden, a vertical gardens lifespan is very long. It is dependent on the maintenance performed and the environmental conditions surrounding it. The automated systems included in Terapia Urbana reduce the cost and complexity of maintenance tasks. All vegetation have natural life cycles thus the maintenance programme provided by Terapia Urbana includes the replacement of all plants. However, plant species selected by Terapia Urbana are perennial in nature to provide a stable rich ecosystem and so to maximise their life cycle.

Back to the top

20. What are the benefits of installing urban greening systems in work environments

Fundamentally they reduce sick building syndrome and its detrimental effect on productivity and motivation of workers. So urban greening concepts increase labour productivity, happiness and motivation of employees. In addition, there are studies indicating that the existence of vertical garden systems help reduce absenteeism by creating a more pleasant and healthy environment.

Back to the top

Licencia de Creative Commons
Preguntas frecuentes naturación urbana by Terapia Urbana is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 3.0 Unported License.