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Transforming thermal-radiative study of a climber green wall to innovative engineering design to enhance building-energy efficiency

Lee, Louis S.H., Jim, C.Y.
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.224 pp. 892-904
air, concrete, energy efficiency, engineering, heat, monitoring, solar radiation, summer, systems engineering, terrestrial radiation, vegetation cover, China
The thermo-regulatory function of building-integrated climber vegetation has been verified. However, there is a need to increase in-situ observation studies on green walls installed on windowed building envelopes. This study presents results of instrumental monitoring of the thermal and radiative environment of a climber-green wall with windows to inspire a more energy-efficient green wall system design. This research is based in humid-subtropical Hong Kong, with reference to experimental controls (without vegetation cover) of a bare wall and a bare roof in sunny, cloudy and rainy weather in summer. The experimental results demonstrated lower short-wave reflectivity on green wall (0.13) than on control bare wall (0.30). Green wall received the thermal influence of long-wave terrestrial radiation as well as sky radiation. On sunny, cloudy and rainy days, the exterior concrete wall surface behind climber vegetation was cooler than control bare wall up to 6.6, 2.3 and 1.2 K respectively, and the posterior air gap shielded by the climbers was cooler than ambient air up to 2.2, 0.8 and 0.4 K. On sunny day, indoor wall surface and air of the green wall envelope were warmer at maximum by 1.4 and 1.3 K respectively, possibly contributed by the thermal bridge effect of the windows. On cloudy and rainy days, however, indoor surface and air experienced cooling by < 2.0 K. The evaluation of the thermal effects of windows on the indoor thermal regime led to the proposal of a rotatable green wall planter system, which could optimize daytime and nighttime thermal benefits by maximizing daytime shading-induced shielding against through-window insolation and nighttime radiative heat loss.