The Library of Birmingham is demonstrating its green credentials before it is even built with the creation of a ‘living wall’ on the building site hoardings in Centenary Square.
Installed by Hedera Screens, the innovative ‘LivePanel’ display is the first of its kind to be fitted on temporary site hoardings anywhere in the world.
The installation of the living wall comes as Birmingham City Council attempts to meet its Birmingham 2026 vision, with plans to see carbon emissions reduced across the city by 60%.
Situated on a section of the 5m tall hoardings around the construction site, the feature includes a mixture of Green Screen and living walls.
The lower 2.8m is covered by Mobilane Green Screens, which feature ivy-clad metal fencing sections which are robust enough to prevent vandals and fly posters from abusing and damaging the hoardings.
A LivePanel living wall covers the top 2.2m of the hoardings and features a variety of plants including hedera helix ivy, euonymus emerald and gold, lavender hidcote and a wide variety of other mixed species and colourful plants.
Increasingly popular across the UK, Green Screens and Living Walls deliver many environmental benefits such as removing dust and particles from the air, lowering ambient temperature in urban areas, improving air quality, and attracting wildlife.
Developed by Netherlands firm Mobilane over the last few years, LivePanel displays feature a variety of plants fed and watered by computer-controlled irrigation. Set to be in place until the site hoardings are removed in late 2012, the whole system can then be re-used at another site.
The council is aiming for the Library of Birmingham to achieve a BREEAM 'excellent' rating, the highest national standard for sustainable construction.
The building is set to feature an aquifer ground source cooling system, an innovative energy saving heating system utilising a renewable energy source. Other environmental features include a brown roof and two green outdoor terraces to support biodiversity, combined heat and power technology to reduce waste, and energy efficient lighting systems and controls.
Birmingham City Council leader Coun Mike Whitby said: “The Library of Birmingham is set to become one of the most exciting cultural projects in the world, and with that comes a huge responsibility to not only provide world class facilities, but also to meet our green responsibilities."
Sean Farrell, of Mobilane UK, said: “The Library of Birmingham promises to be a truly innovative building, and the installation of the living wall shows that it’s a project where environmental responsibility is at the forefront of the agenda. We think the people of Birmingham will be impressed by the impact it will have on Centenary Square.”
The Library of Birmingham is also a cornerstone of the Birmingham’s bid to be City of Culture 2013 and its opening would coincide with the celebrations if Birmingham is selected.