Respyre presents an innovative building material that allows us to integrate nature into our environment by the use of living moss walls.
27 Nov 2023
Sustainable development in urban regions in the Netherlands with bioreceptive facades.
Respyre presents an innovative building material that allows us to integrate nature into our environment through the use of living moss walls.
What will our cities look like in the future?
In recent years, the question of what our future will look like has become increasingly relevant. This is partly due to climate change and the effects that it brings along, such as rising temperatures and heavier rainfalls, which will become more frequent in our cities, according to the European Commission. However, it is also an important question because of the increasing population density and the growing interest in living more sustainably and nature-inclusive. Therefore, several municipalities are beginning to include more green spaces in urban planning, such as the city of Amsterdam with its Green Space policy. The government aims to subsidise innovative city projects, and many architects are also looking for sustainable alternatives. Architect Gillian Holl stated that "biophilic design, which means reconnecting humans with nature, will become all the more crucial in architecture during this and the coming years." In this article, we will take a closer look at how Respyre’s innovation will help this development with VertiScape; bioreceptive panels that can easily turn lifeless walls into living structures.
What is VertiScape?
The difference between VertiScape and the association that people usually tend to have with conventional concrete is one of sustainability. Respyre's facade panels can be considered a green form of outdoor wall decoration since the recipe is 90-95% circular. The basis for Respyre's bioreceptive facades is an already existing constructive element to which the concrete layer will be applied or it can be used in new buildings as a prefab product. The concrete itself has porous characteristics and a textured surface, which optimises water flow and retention. This results in the perfect environment for moss growth. To additionally support the growth, a bio-enhancing gel can be applied. Not only is the VertiScape product low in CO2 during its production, over its lifetime it is also effective in capturing CO2 by means of carbonisation that occurs when it holds lots of water. Since mosses do not have a typical root system but rhizoids, which they use to anchor themselves to the concrete, they do not damage the underlying structure. In fact, the technology even protects it. The bioreceptive panels allow us to grow moss in a controlled environment and act as a protective shell. Since moss is primarily self-sustaining, maintenance costs are cheaper in comparison with other living wall solutions. To ensure sustainability Respyre is always looking for ways to innovate the production process. Throughout the development of our product, for example, we run our greenhouse entirely on wastewater and use up to 70% recycled material to ensure sustainability of resources. All of that leaves us with an alternative to grey facades in cities, a new way of integrating nature into our lives, and a building material with many benefits.
How can bioreceptive facades help us and our cities?
Urban planners are facing many challenges: how will we handle water overload, pollution, and heat waves in cities? As mentioned above, Respyre's VertiScape facades offer many solutions. The walls can absorb a great amount of water, which means they reduce the water flow during heavy rainfalls and are, therefore, worth including in water-sensitive city designs. Additionally, living moss walls act as natural insulators, helping to regulate temperature. The cooling effect of moss walls can mitigate the impact of rising temperatures, creating more comfortable and enjoyable outdoor environments. The same goes for noise nuisance because moss possesses natural sound-absorbing properties and can be an effective solution for reducing noise reflections in urban and suburban settings. Whether used in residential areas, public spaces, or commercial environments, the acoustic benefits of moss walls contribute to creating more peaceful and serene spaces. The classic grey noise barrier could easily be replaced by a green one, and this goes for other construction elements of our urban regions. Moreover, one of the most essential benefits is air purification conducted by moss. Moss naturally absorbs pollutants, such as particulate matter, making these green installations valuable contributors to improving air quality in outdoor spaces, potentially enhancing the overall well-being of the city residents. A green, sustainable, and aesthetic environment not only makes the climate happier, but it also makes us happier.
Let's ensure that our cities can breathe – together.
As we continue navigating the challenges of modern living and urbanisation, embracing green living walls might be the key to unlocking happiness in the spaces we inhabit. VertiScape can help us to do this, while advancing sustainability in our cities simultaneously. It represents a new direction in urban planning and natural architecture. Through living moss walls, we can not only see the green but also feel it. With our technology, we will continue striving towards a sustainable future!