Is there an unbiased comparison of moss walls and living walls that you can read online?
This is a common question we get asked when we are approached to advise on which solution works best for them.
This article has been written in an effort to provide an objective source of information that both types of “green” wall in.
The approach is simple, we will list the advantages and disadvantages of moss walls and living walls and then we will back off and let you form your own opinion as to which one you think is right for your space.
Let’s start off with MOSS WALLS…
Advantages of moss walls
1) Virtually no maintenance
Moss walls are a great way to create a lush green ambience in public areas less the potential hassle of maintaining and keeping your green wall looking perfect. The moss used to construct this decorative piece is preserved and therefore does not continue to grow once it has been installed. Consequently, there is little maintenance required to keep it looking fresh and healthy for years to come. We would recommend however that you keep an eye out for any details of your moss wall that may become damaged; they can be easily repaired!
2) Eco-friendly option
Due to its friendly preservation process moss walls have a significantly lower carbon footprint when compared to both live and artificial plants. This is because they are constructed using 100% natural product, maintenance-free, and their longevity of life; moss walls will last as long as 8-10 years if it is installed in an area where it can’t be tampered with. Moss walls provide the creativity of nature, the convenience of artificial plants and the benefits of living plants.
3) Improves acoustics
To prove how effective moss walls are for acoustics a study-carried out by The University of The Basque Country tested the acoustic properties of modular green walls. To do this, they used two different reverberation chambers. They found that, when compared to untreated walls, the green walls resulted in a ‘weighted sound reduction index’ of 15db and a weighted sound absorption coefficient of 0.40”. This study demonstrated that these walls show a similar or better acoustic absorption coefficient than other common building materials.
Disadvantages of moss walls
1) Not alive
It may sound like an obvious statement but unlike living walls, moss walls are not actually alive! Therefore, despite its incredible properties that help create that piece of mind and feeling of nature around your space they don’t act as an absorbent of carbon dioxide like a typical living plant. Unlike living walls, moss walls do not act as a cleaner of the air in the surrounding space.
2) Not for exterior spaces
As “moss walls” are created using a preserved process to enable it to last for many years without the need for water these green walls are not able to be used in exterior spaces. This is a common misconception that moss originally comes from nature and that it can be used for exterior walls. It is not the case and hence the importance of living walls has its place to be used as a facade for exteriors on buildings.
Now let’s turn our attention to LIVING WALLS and provide the advantages and disadvantages for them.
Advantages of living walls
1) Purifies the air
The plants in a living wall significantly improve air condition. The wall filters particulate matter from the air, converting CO2 into oxygen. Only one m2 of living wall extracts 2.3 kg of CO2 per annum from the air and produces 1.7 kg of oxygen. There have been many studies which prove that plants and the microbes found in soil media absorb harmful VOC’s and convert them into a compound which plants use for food.
2) Increases the sense of well-being
This is a direct consequence of the first advantage. Cleaner air leads to fewer health complaints such as headaches and respiratory irritations, as well as increases in focus and attention. Complaints such as irritated eyes, headaches, sore throats, and tiredness diminish. In interior areas where there is plenty of greenery, there is a noticeable decrease in absence due to illness.
3) Reduces the ambient temperature
Plants absorb sunlight. More accurately, 50% is absorbed and 30% reflected. This helps to create a cooler and more pleasant climate during summertime. For the indoor climate, this means also that 33% less air conditioning is required, which in turn means energy savings.
Disadvantages of living walls
Living walls can become very expensive depending on the final type and specification of the living wall system used. Typically, living walls are not a direct comparison to a moss wall because of the difference in set up and ongoing maintenance required to keep them looking fresh. The components which make up a living wall, such as an irrigation system and ongoing maintenance, tend to lead to the overall project costing more than predicted. This means it can take time to recover the cost in the form of energy bill savings for example.
Just like all things living, living green walls are no different. They require constant love, attention, and care to keep them alive and looking fresh all year-round. With the changing seasons throughout the year living green walls need to have watering, drainage, trimming, and periodic plant replacements taken care of by a specialist provider. This is an additional element to bear in mind which requires careful thought and consideration and an additional expenditure line to budget for.
Living walls have been known for their complexities and it’s not for good reason, here’s why. Because they are living there is the ongoing fear of the plants themselves potentially dying and needing to be replaced. As well as this they can attract natural elements, such as unwanted bugs and insects, and even plant diseases. This can often cause unwanted stress and hassle in your quest to maintain your living wall.
So, there we have it. The advantages and disadvantages of moss walls and living walls.
If you need assistance with making the best decision for your space our team will be delighted to support you!
Speak with Leaflike to find out more about how we help customers to achieve their sustainability agenda.
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