Sourced from the University of South Australia News
With South Australia now the most expensive city in the world for electricity, consumers are desperate to find ways to make savings in the midst of a long, hot summer.
UniSA PhD student Rosmina Bustami may have found a solution.
The civil engineering PhD candidate is investigating the energy savings that can be achieved by installing vertical gardens on household external walls.
Green walls – often referred to as living walls – consist of multiple pot plants housed within a frame, mounted to the wall and watered with a drip system.
The walls not only soften a harsh façade, providing an attractive feature, but can reduce the transfer of heat into the home with temperatures differing by as much as 12 degrees, Rosmina has found.
Her experiment involved installing a vertical garden on a west-facing wall, containing six different species of native plants – 144 pots in total.
Temperatures of the wall directly behind the vertical garden were taken, and compared with a control wall without plants, both western-facing.
The experiment was carried out between December 2015 and August 2016, encompassing the hottest and coolest months of the year.
The biggest temperature difference – 12 degrees – in the study was recorded in January 2016 while the smallest was in June 2016 (2.5 degrees).
However, outside the official experiment period, Rosmina recorded an even more remarkable difference. On Adelaide’s hottest day of 2017, 8 February, when the temperature outside peaked at 42.4 degrees, Rosmina recorded a difference in temperature reading of 26.6 degrees Celsius between the green wall and its corresponding control wall.