Cooling Effects of the Living Wall System at Different Distances to the Wall

By Qiuyu Chen, Baofeng Li and Xiaohu Liu.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The living wall system (LWS) can improve the thermal behavior of the building envelope. The distance between the LWS and the wall has great influence on its cooling effect. This study tested the LWS’s cooling effects at different distances in a hot and humid climate in an controlled experimental setting and compared the cooling mechanisms of the LWS and the green façade. Two thermal labs installed with LWS at different distances were examined. The results show that between 30mm to 600mm, the smaller the distance, the better the LWS’s cooling effect. However, smaller distance slowed down the building wall from releasing heat to the ambient air at night. Smaller distance also resulted in higher humidity levels inside the air layer. Unlike green façades, the LWS creates a microclimate with a cool air layer and a cool surface (the backside of the LWS) that can significantly reduce the temperatures of the wall surface.

Keywords: Living Wall System, Cooling Mechanism, Distance, Microclimate, Air Layer, Thermal Behavior

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.67-77. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 672.941KB).

Qiuyu Chen

PhD Student, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

Qiuyu Chen is a 4th year Phd student in Architecture, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan China. I received my Master of Architecture (sustainable design) from the University of Texas at Austin, U.S. in 2008. Research interests: sustainable architectural technologies, focus on the thermal behavior, water reservation, and fabrication of the living wall system.

Baofeng Li

Dean, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

Dean, professor, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan China. Research interests: sustainable architecture, sustainable landscape.

Xiaohu Liu

Director of Architecture, School of Architecture, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, China

Associate professor, executive director of Low-carbon City & Architecture Center, director of Advanced Architecture Lab, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan China. Research interests: sustainable architecture and low-carbon urban design.