Green streets are the way to go

In Climate, News, Technology by

Not only are green roofs and walls pretty to look at, more and more studies are finding that they’re incredibly useful in the dual fight against climate change and pollution.

Green wall at the CaixaForum in Madrid.

A green wall at the CaixaForum museum and culture centre in Madrid.
Photograph: Alamy

Green roofs and walls, which take up no ground space and were originally introduced sometimes for aesthetic reasons, are proving that they have great value. They insulate buildings and lead to energy savings, reduce temperatures outside by absorbing sunlight, and mitigate the urban heat island effect. They also contribute to storm water management by soaking up the rain, and reduce noise and increase urban biodiversity.

But the latest studies find green roofs and walls are also valuable for removing air pollution; they can reduce nitrogen dioxide by up to 35%, and make 50% cuts in the small particulates that damage lungs.