The Supergreen Workplace is a prototype working environment designed with an optimised passive natural ventilation strategy combined with extensive external and internal planting used to naturally control air quality and enhance users wellbeing by increased connection with nature.
While the benefits of green roofs are widely appreciated, the added benefits of green facades are generally less understood. As well as further reducing urban heat island effect, providing reduced rainwater discharge and increasing biodiversity, green facades can significantly improve air quality which is very important for a successful natural ventilation strategy. Planting can result in significant local reductions in the concentration of airborne particulate matter both when the plants are internal and when external on green facades.
There is extensive research into the use of plants to improve indoor air quality and maintain a healthy indoor eco-system, but recent studies have also shown how use of green facades can result in significant local reductions in external concentrations of particulate matter as the leaf surfaces of plants capture and remove particles from the atmosphere. Green facades are most effective when planted over the whole height of the building using planting with a high density of leaves. Vegetation on the lower storeys is effective in removing locally generated pollution eg from traffic and can clean air prior to it entering the building. High level façade planting is most effective at removing wind driven pollution generated from further away and helps combat the ‘street canyon’ concentrating effect which can be exacerbated by tree canopies. The vegetation is specified to relate to the orientation of each elevation and extensive internal planting is also used to provide internal humidification and improve general wellbeing.