Green building envelope
In September 2016, Arup published ‘Cities Alive: Green Building Envelope’, a report examining the possibilities of cleaner, greener and healthier human ecosystems.
The report, written by a global collaborative team of Arup specialists, explores the application of green infrastructure to the surfaces of both new and existing inner-city buildings in five major cities; Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Hong Kong.
The wide-ranging conclusions of the report include:
- Green facades can reduce local air pollution by 10-20%.
- The level of reduction is dependent on the ratio of the building height to the street width.
- Green facades could reduce sound levels from emergent and traffic noise sources by up to 10dB(A).
- Green facades have a greater acoustical impact with increasing distance from the noise source.
- When ambient noise levels are lower, such as during the night, green facades are likely to have a greater acoustic impact.
 Urban heat island (UHI) effect
- Green facades can remove 50% of solar radiation.
- They are most effective at reducing the UHI in denser urban centres and in areas where there is more concrete and less planting.
- Reductions in peak air temperatures of up to 10ºC are achievable, although for most areas, the mean reductions in UHI were a fraction of a degree compared to the peak.
- Cities with wide streets and low-rise buildings could benefit from more greenery at street level.
To download the full report for free, see Arup.
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