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Vegetation elements in the built environment

Traditional architect training is about building with hard materials. Sustainability includes utilising the performance enhancing properties introduced by plants integrated with the building form. This includes:-

  • the shading from sunward positioned trees, understorey, pergola and trellis vine covers
  • the air temperature and humidity modification by moisture expiration from plants, plus water spray onto leaves evaporating, or from hanging basket watering and its drippers
  • the insulation by the air trapped in leaf clusters stopping heat flowing to or away from building surfaces
  • earth covered surfaces including berm walls and covered roofs then watered and grass covered increasing insulation effect.

In these ways vegetation has both passive and active contributions to building comfort to make.

Vegetation in hot arid locales has preferred growth positions. Morning dew is more likely to form on the shadeside walls of the building. This sustains vegetation there - grass and vine, by moisture dripping to ground against the building face. This position is also consistent with the vegetation contribution to southern wall insulation and cooling air source there to draw into the building.



The photo shows a self set creeper achieving these outcomes which has prospered on the southern face of building G on the Monarto property.
Visible are the wildlife trimming of the lower stems which the creeper has survived and outclimbed.