The Library of Birmingham has introduced a world first – a ‘living wall’ on the site hoardings in Centenary Square. You may have seen it – perhaps at the Climate Change Festival at the weekend – and wondered what it was all about. Well, our patch of green wall is probably more complicated than you think…
The press release tells us that “installed by Midlands firm Hedera Screens, the innovative ‘LivePanel’ display is the first of its kind to be fitted on temporary site hoardings anywhere in the world, setting the environmental standard for the revolutionary new building.”
The lower 2.8m is covered by Mobilane Green Screens – ivy-clad metal fencing sections which are particularly robust and designed to prevent vandals and fly posters from abusing and damaging the hoardings. A LivePanel living wall covers the top 2.2m of the hoardings and features a variety of plants including hedera helix ivy, euonymus emerald and gold, lavender hidcote and a wide variety of other mixed species and colourful plants.
LivePanel has been developed by Netherlands firm Mobilane. It displays feature a variety of plants growing in a revolutionary new light-weight system, which is fed and watered by computer-controlled irrigation. Set to be in place until the site hoardings are removed in late 2012, the whole system can then be re-used at another site, making it ultra-sustainable.
The green wall is intended to be an early indication of the Green credentials of the new Library of Birmingham itself. We are told that “environmental sustainability has been at the forefront of plans for the new building, which aims to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating, the highest national standard for sustainable construction. The Library is set to feature an aquifer ground source cooling system, an innovative energy saving heating system utilising a renewable energy source. Other environmental features include a brown roof and two green outdoor terraces to support biodiversity, combined heat and power technology to reduce waste, and energy efficient lighting systems and controls. The introduction of the Living Wall further demonstrates the Library of Birmingham’s commitment to green responsibility, even at this early point in the project.”