Scotscape Smartscape CPD – Living Walls

Key Points

Living walls enhance mental and physical well-being. They clean the air of harmful particulates. Internal and external installation possibilities. Integrated irrigation systems. Consider access and maintenance.

The seminar aimed to show the benefits of incorporating Living Walls into our designs for the built environment, helping to reduce the heat island effect in our cities, adding additional thermal insulation and cleaning the air of harmful particulates which are the by-products of modern living (petrol, diesel, pollen, dust, car tyres, clothes fibres…). They contribute to “biodiversity net gain”; this is a government mandate which requires that new developments deliver an overall increase in biodiversity, their sites being left in a better state than they were pre-development. Living walls become ecosystems in their own right; plants can be carefully specified taking into account the particulars of their environment.

Living walls are an essential part of biophilic design and can benefit our mental health as much as our physical health. They can be retrofitted in existing buildings and can be densely planted with as many as 50 plants per square metre, maximising the benefit to air quality within a small area, where 50 potted plants would take up considerable space in comparison. This is particularly useful for internal environments where the air quality can be worse than outdoors, often comprised by VOCs. Plants also humidify air conditioned rooms. The poor oxygen levels in many office environments can lead to reduced functionality and productivity and therefore the use of living walls may benefit employers.


  • Living walls cannot be used above 18m, since plants have a calorific value and will therefore burn. However the Scotscape Fytotextile Living Wall System has a fire rating class 0.
  • Allow 40kg/m2 weight loading for the living wall system and substrate.
  • The Scotscape build-up incorporates insulation and therefore it has a measurable U Value.
  • A drainage point should be provided at the base of the living wall system.
  • The living wall system has its own irrigation system – mains pressure water can be used for private domestic installations, while commercial applications will require a separate pump/ break tank.
  • Internal installations for living walls must begin 300mm above floor level to give room for the equipment below.
  • The most basic pump/ break tank can be used for a living wall installation of up to 30m2.