Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - 26


GRHC is looking for
water use data from
your green wall!
Please contact
bstand@greenroofs.org

HOW MUCH
WATER DOES A
GREEN WALL USE?
GRHC WADES IN!

WRITTEN BY BLAINE STAND AND MELISSA DANIELS

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities'
(GRHC) Green Wall Industry Committee
recently made a deputation to the
USGBC's Water Efficiency Technical
Advisory Group (WE TAG). The Committee
is in the process of reviewing water use
baselines for green wall installations and how
green walls were scored in the LEED rating
systems, with an emphasis on eliminating potable
water use in these systems. GRHC described
the many different types of green walls, and the
factors at play in green wall installations that impact
water use, and how they might be affected by changes
in LEED scoring.

T

he green wall industry is still a young market, with a variety of new and very different systems being
developed every year. Water use in green wall systems is affected by a variety of factors such as the
type of system installed; the type of irrigation system and controller used; the climate in which the
wall is installed; wind or solar exposure on the wall; maintenance practices and plant selection. With all
these factors at play, GRHC argued that it is difficult to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to regulating green
wall water use. Other considerations include the source of water, such as the use of gray water, rainwater or
condensate instead of potable water for green wall installations. Gray water for example, may come with a variety
of health and safety restrictions. In addition, there are additional price considerations for gray water harvesting
systems and integration could negatively affect green wall adoption in mainstream design. In some jurisdictions,
there may be regulations that prevent the harvest of rainwater for irrigation purposes.
Since not all green walls utilize significant potable water, GRHC indicated that blanket potable water use restrictions through LEED could negatively impact market growth and unfairly punish systems designed for minimum water
use. GRHC recommended that a more progressive option might be to reward good design by granting credits based
on the use of high efficiency irrigation systems and irrigation controllers, rather than restrict credits based on overall
water use. The committee presented water use statistics for several living wall systems (see right) and indicated that more
research would help to better understand and develop best practices for wise water management in green walls. GRHC
looks forward to continuing to work with the Technical Advisory Group to develop appropriate measures to ensure wise
water performance for green walls.
LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR / FALL 2016 / 26

READ THIS ISSUE ONLINE AT LIVINGARCHITECTUREMONITOR.COM

Photo courtesy of Melissa Daniels

POLICY AND STANDARDS



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - Cover1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - Cover2
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - TOC
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A
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Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - M1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A1
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A2
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A3
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A4
Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2016 - A5
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