Green building materials and sustainable design practices have been gaining in popularity in recent years. Architects and developers are looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of their projects while still delivering high-quality buildings that meet the needs of their clients.
UK’s Biggest Sustainable Office Building Green Wall Project
Eden is a £36 million, 115,000 sq ft, 12-storey office building at New Bailey in Salford, being developed by The English Cities Fund (ECF) – a strategic joint venture between nationwide placemaker, Muse, Legal & General and Homes England. The main contractor is Bowmer + Kirkland.
The most astounding feature of the Eden project is the extraordinary living wall that will not only hold the distinction of being the largest in Europe but will also rank as the second largest in the world.
Euroform is a company that specialises in producing sustainable building materials, and they recently supplied their Versaroc sheathing board to Eden at New Bailey, a development in Salford, UK., which was used as a structural and fire-resistant board for the building’s façade to create the largest living wall in Europe.
SIG Facades are the sole supplier of Euroform in Ireland.
What is the purpose of living walls?
The purpose behind this remarkable façade is multifaceted: it will actively combat air pollution, particularly carbon emissions, while simultaneously lowering urban temperatures, providing thermal advantages for building occupants, offering thermal benefits to occupiers, and delivering a 174% net gain in the biodiversity of life in the area, while providing a high-quality green space.
Euroform’s Versaroc sheathing board used to create a living wall
Euroform’s Versaroc® MPA1 is part of the living wall structure, which involves a steel frame. It is made from a unique blend of cement and wood fibres, which makes it lightweight, durable, and environmentally friendly. The fibre cement board comprises ordinary Portland cement with inorganic reinforcing fibres.
Versaroc® MPA1 is intended for exterior sheathing of SFS frames due to its high durability and non-combustibility. It is also easy to work with, which means that it can be cut and shaped to fit the specific needs of each project.
SIG supplies sheathing boards
SIG Ireland exclusively supplies Euroform sheathing boards in Ireland. This partnership means that architects, builders, and developers in Ireland can access Euroform’s high-quality and sustainable building materials and receive technical advice on using the building material on their projects, helping them to achieve their sustainability goals and deliver high-quality buildings.
The Eden green wall is a beautiful and innovative example of sustainable design. The wall features over 400,000 plants planted and is designed to help reduce pollution in the outdoor space. Euroform’s Versapanel sheathing board played a critical role in the wall’s success, providing a strong and durable substrate that could support the weight of the plants and withstand the elements.
SIG provides technical advice on sustainable building materials
As the exclusive supplier of Euroform sheathing board in Ireland, SIG plays a vital role in supporting architects and developers to attain their sustainability objectives in diverse projects.
We provide valuable guidance on regulatory compliance and ensure that projects meet sustainability standards and regulations. Additionally, SIG offers expertise in passive fire protection, prioritising the safety and well-being of occupants in sustainable buildings.
The Euroform board range has undergone rigorous testing as per EN 1364-1:2015 standards, ensuring its fire resistance on SFS and providing up to 120 minutes of insulation and integrity.
SIG’s role as a supplier of sustainable building materials enables us to offer a wide range of eco-friendly options. We collaborate closely with architects and developers to recommend and select suitable sustainable materials, thereby reducing environmental impact and enhancing overall sustainability.
Is it worth getting a green wall?
Green walls offer numerous benefits, including improved air quality, enhanced aesthetics, biodiversity promotion, reduction in noise levels and potential energy savings. However, determining if a green wall aligns with your objectives and resources is important to factor in the feasibility, costs, and long-term maintenance requirements.
What are the disadvantages of green walls?
While green walls offer huge advantages, there are some potential disadvantages to consider. These include high installation and maintenance costs, specialised irrigation systems, potential greenery health issues, and the need for regular monitoring and pruning. Additionally, a green wall’s weight and structural requirements should be considered during the design and construction phases.
How do you create a living wall?
Creating a living wall involves several steps. First, a suitable structural framework or support system needs to be installed. Next, a waterproof membrane is added to protect the building structure from moisture. A growing medium or substrate is then applied, followed by selecting and planting appropriate plants. Finally, an irrigation system is set up to provide water and nutrients to the plants.
Do living walls create damp?
When properly designed and maintained, living walls should not create damp issues. Adequate waterproofing measures and proper irrigation systems help prevent excessive moisture accumulation. However, it is important to ensure that the chosen system and installation address potential water infiltration and drainage concerns.
What is the thickness of the sheathing board?
The thickness of sheathing boards can vary depending on the specific application and building requirements. Common thicknesses range from 9mm to 25mm (3/8 inch to 1 inch) or even thicker for certain specialised applications. Thicker sheathing boards may be used for added structural support or improved insulation properties.
What is a sustainable office building?
A sustainable office building refers to a commercial building designed, constructed, and operated with a focus on minimising environmental impact and maximising resource efficiency. These buildings employ various strategies, such as energy-efficient systems, renewable energy sources, efficient water management, waste reduction, and the use of eco-friendly materials.
Sustainable office buildings aim to provide healthy and productive indoor and outdoor environments while reducing carbon footprints.
How can you make an office building more sustainable?
Several measures can be taken to reduce energy consumption and make an office building more sustainable. These include optimising energy efficiency through insulation, efficient HVAC systems, LED lighting, and renewable energy sources. You can read SIG Ireland’s report on how we lowered our carbon output in our warehouses and office spaces here.
Implementing water-efficient fixtures, collecting rainwater for building use, recycling programs and waste reduction strategies also contribute to sustainability.
Additionally, using sustainable building materials, promoting indoor air quality, and incorporating more gardens and green spaces can enhance the overall sustainability of an office building.
Are living walls hard to maintain?
The maintenance requirements of living walls can vary depending on factors such as plant selection, climate, irrigation system, and design considerations. While living walls do require regular maintenance, such as watering, pruning, fertilising, and monitoring plant health, the specific level of difficulty can vary.
Proper planning, selecting suitable plants for the given conditions, and implementing a well-designed irrigation and maintenance plan can help ensure that living walls and foliage are manageable and thrive over time.
The Eden Project, featuring Europe’s largest living wall, serves as a remarkable example of sustainable design. Euroform’s Versaroc sheathing board plays a vital role in the success of the living wall, providing a strong, light and durable substrate that could support the weight of the plants and withstand environmental elements. The board’s unique blend of cement and wood fibres makes it lightweight, durable, and environmentally friendly, contributing to the project’s overall sustainability.
By incorporating green walls, architects and developers can actively combat air pollution, enhance aesthetics, promote biodiversity, and provide thermal benefits. While green walls offer numerous advantages, it is essential to consider factors such as installation and maintenance costs. However, with proper planning, plant selection, and maintenance, living walls can be successfully managed and thrive over time, contributing to the overall sustainability of buildings.
If you are interested in finding out more about suitable sheathing boards for your project contact our Facades team of experts today.