The benefits of using living materials for construction

The idea of using living materials for construction has been around for many years, yet it is still relatively unusual to see green roofs and living walls on buildings in the UK.

But as we move through the 21st century and face a variety of environmental challenges, there are several good reasons why using living materials in construction could offer a partial solution.

We all know plants are good news in terms of reducing the amount of CO2 in the air, but the benefits of biological building materials go beyond that.


Capturing carbon

The ability of green roofs to capture carbon is already well known, but using living building materials in urban areas is especially beneficial.

Roofs and walls offer large areas where biological matter like grass, moss and small plants can be cultivated in a deliberate way.

In dense urban areas like city centres, this can vastly increase the amount of CO2 being scrubbed from the air – improving air quality and the health of local residents and workers.


Reducing flooding

Green roofs can act as sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS), especially when the correct kind of breathable and water-permeable membrane is used as a base layer.

They add an element of control to the way rainwater runs off the roof – often the first hard surface rainfall hits, which can raise the risk of flooding on premises where the run-off is not well controlled.

In this way, green roofs can reduce the flow of water to a more manageable level during a downpour, as well as guiding run-off into the gutters and drainpipes, and ultimately into the sewers so it leaves your property quickly and safely.


Thermal control

Finally, in this list one of the big benefits of living materials in construction is thermal control of the building’s interior.

Organic matter has a naturally insulating effect. That means living walls and green roofs can help to keep interiors cooler on hot summer days, and warmer on cold winter days.

If you’re thinking about intelligent building controls, solar shielding and other systems to reduce HVAC spending and cut carbon emissions from business premises, green roofs and living walls should be on your list to at least consider – the argument in favour is persuasive.


To find out more about any of the above, contact hebs Group today by calling 0151 2360707 and we will be happy to talk you through our capabilities in this area, to bring your premises up to date for the 2020s.

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