Researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya have recently patented a new type of concrete that holds promise for green building walls.
- This concrete façade promotes the growth of lichens and mosses (known as ‘lower plants’) while deterring other plant species that grow large roots that may cause structural damage. The material is permeable to allow water in where it is then held to be available for biological growth and the pH of the concrete is altered to aid plant development. One of the goals of the research is to speed the natural colonisation process so buildings are covered with vegetation within a year.
- The material is structurally sound because layering is employed – there is a structural layer, a waterproofing layer, a biological layer and a coating layer, so additional building support is not required. In addition, the biological concrete façade insulates buildings, acting as a thermal regulator.
Implications and next steps: These types of new materials may help to achieve multi-use in urban environments by improving inner city wellbeing in terms of air quality and provision for vegetation as well as providing aesthetic benefits (building colours will change with the seasons). There may be a need to ensure appropriate use on different types of building (i.e. existing and new).