by Nick Gromicko, CMI® from InterNACHI

Biowalls — also referred to as living walls, vertical gardens, green facades, and green walls — are interior or exterior walls that are covered with living vegetation. Biowalls have practical applications for both indoor and outdoor use. Many indoor biowalls are implemented in homes and offices for their natural air-filtration properties and are used in tandem with traditional HVAC systems. Outdoor biowalls are most commonly found in urban environments, and serve to insulate buildings and combat the urban heat island (or UHI) effect, where exposed concrete surfaces reflect heat and cause urban centers to be excessively hot in the summertime.  Biowalls are also effective for mitigating the UHI effect in urban centers located in warm and dry climates.

Facts and Figures

How do biowalls function?

There are two main types biowalls:

A drip-irrigation system may be installed to run across the top of the biowall, allowing water and added nutrients to cascade down and soak the growth medium and plant roots. Excess water that pools at the bottom then recirculates back to the top of the wall by means of a pump. Some systems utilize captured rainwater or recycled greywater to minimize the water requirements of a biowall.

There are two main classifications that distinguish biofiltration intensity:

Advantages of Biowalls

Disadvantages of Biowalls



In summary, biowalls have many health, environmental and financial benefits when they are properly installed and maintained.