Firm wins prize for 'green walls'

A West Sussex company specialising in "green walls" for buildings won a top award for innovation when launching its product at the EcoBuild trade show recently.

BioTecture has developed a range of modular units, in which plants are grown in an irrigated medium that can be easily installed to standard cladding rails, resulting in a vertical facade of greenery on a building's external wall.

The product won the Innovation in Sustainable Design and Construction award, which included a package of funding and business support worth over £10,000, during a Dragon's Den-style live event.

The company was set up last year by landscape designer Mark Laurence and sustainable building consultant Richard Sabin after they realised the best places for greening urban areas were walls and roofs.

The system has caught the eye of building professionals. Laurence said: "We've gone from zero to ballistic within the space of the three days of the show."

He added: "We were inundated with architects wanting green walls. Many are already specifying them on buildings but didn't know who can put them in. This year it seems every architect is aware of the possibilities."

The panels are pre-grown to order, minimising plant stress and reducing on-site assembly time. Among the benefits of green walls are reduced thermal loading on buildings which saves energy, water and air filtration.

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