The living wall is the first example of sustainable architecture that has been built on the University of Lincoln’s campus, built onto the side of the new medical building and located next to the Delph Pond, on the Brayford Campus.
About 5,000 plants with 11 different varieties are proudly sat on the side of the new Medical School building, next to solar panels. They create a striking effect of several colours, serving as an aesthetically pleasing amenity to all those who see it.
But it serves a further purpose than just being easy on the eye.
Bevan Adams, project manager for the Medical School, explained that he and the Estates Department wanted the whole building to be the university’s most sustainable, to reduce the carbon footprint.
More robust plants have been placed at the top of the wall as they will be able to withstand harsher weather, particularly the wind.
On a biodiversity basis, there are both grasses and flowers planted which produce different functions. The flowers will provide nectar and pollen for insects, whilst the grasses will hopefully attract birds.
The living wall will also help to protect the building against different issues caused by the weather. The plants will prevent overheating of the building to an extent, absorbing heat from the sun.
Flooding can also present challenges, but the plants can help to slow this down, by holding the rainwater in its pockets.
There is a gutter behind the plant’s pockets which is fed by water feeds. Sensors behind the wall mean the plants are watered automatically, ensuring no water is wasted by watering only when the plants require it. There is software in the building to monitor this water usage.
The flat surfaces of the wall are also covered in solar panels, which will help to reduce carbon emissions.
Mr Adams said they wanted to ensure that the arrival of the medical building did not take away any of the site’s previous biodiversity value.
“You don’t want to lose that, you want to improve it. That’s certainly one of the factors we wanted to make sure we did,” he said.
“For me, there is no real option. We’ve got to be doing things a lot greener and we’ve got to be reducing our Co2.”
“It’s not just plants on a wall,” Mr Adams said.