Green Walls Could Buffer Flash Flooding in Cities

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Simulations reveal that green walls filled with coconut peat could absorb storm water running off buildings, mitigating flash floods.

Vertical plant-containing structures attached to the sides of buildings can boost the natural appeal of cities, but that's not their only attraction. Using a storm water modelling tool, engineers in Malaysia are exploring whether these so-called green walls can also help buffer roof run-off to combat flash flooding.

The team, based at the University of Malaysia Sarawak and supported by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage Malaysia, is focusing on a modular system filled with coconut peat.

This artificial soil, which can be obtained by processing readily available coconut husks, has proven good for gardening. However, its ability to control run-off is unknown. In the lab, the group measured key properties of the coconut-based soil including porosity and the speed of water infiltration, and inputted these values into the simulation.

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