Happy Earth Week from CARES

green wall

AUC's Center for Applied Research on the Environment and Sustainability (CARES) uses different techniques to sustainably grow crops around campus. Learn about green walls and how they are helping revolutionize urban agriculture.

Green Walls

Put simply, green walls are clusters of plants that are grown vertically on man made structures. They can survive in indoor or outdoor settings. While green walls do not offer any structural support to the physical walls they’re attached to, they have a variety of other benefits that improve everything from food security to mental health.

CARES has set up green walls on the side of some of its buildings at AUC, many of which were constructed by volunteers. They use these to teach aspiring agriculturalists different types of growing methods and irrigation systems, cultivate fresh herbs such as mint, basil, and rosemary for the community, and showcase attractive foliage in a largely built, concrete setting. The green walls are built using PVC pipes, with areas drilled for the pre-germinated plants to be placed and further developed in. CARES’ green wall plants grow in soil alternatives, such as “cocopeat” (composed of coconut husk fibers) mixed with perlite, as the two can retain water and nutrients more than most standard soils available in Egypt. They are watered through drip irrigation systems, powered through a scheduled, electric pumping cycle.

green wall

Listed below are some facts about green walls:

  1. Green walls provide a way to grow crops in urban settings where traditional, land-based agriculture may be unrealistic.

  2. Because of their plant-based nature, green walls filter out pollutants like formaldehyde (a chemical used in building materials), and VOCs (potentially harmful compounds released from burning gas, coal, and wood), especially useful in metropolitan areas where the air quality is lower. (https://www.ambius.com/green-walls/benefits/)

    1. Also, green walls naturally release oxygen in the air, improving air quality that much more for those in its immediate vicinity.

  3. If built on a large scale, green walls can cool the surrounding air, oftentimes enough to reduce energy costs within the buildings they’re placed on during hot summer months. (https://www.naava.io/editorial/what-are-green-walls)

  4. Green walls absorb sound and thus provide noise insulation for buildings. (https://www.naava.io/editorial/what-are-green-walls)

  5. Green walls hold aesthetic value that connect people to nature in ways that are challenging in urban settings.

    1. Green spaces have been proven to reduce stress and fatigue while increasing concentration - all of which improve general quality of life. (https://www.naava.io/editorial/what-are-green-walls)

green wall