Vegetated Canopies.

22 Aug 2023


As Europe grapples with intense heatwaves and wildfires due to climate change, the focus on mitigating their impacts has intensified. Greenhouse gas emissions have elevated global temperatures by 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, leading to more frequent and severe heatwaves. To counteract this, innovative solutions are being explored, such as vegetated canopies.

Introduced in Spain, these tensioned sail-like structures, known as ‘Greenshades,’ are anchored to building facades, providing shade and greenery in urban areas where trees are scarce. This initiative, implemented in Valladolid, employs a geotextile substrate with irrigation and fertilization systems to support plant growth. Benefits include temperature reduction, noise pollution absorption, improved air quality, and oxygen generation.

How does climate change contribute to the severity of heatwaves in Europe?

Human-induced greenhouse gas emissions have led to a 1.2-degree Celsius temperature rise since pre-industrial times. This warming intensifies heatwaves and their frequency across Europe.

How can heatwave impacts be mitigated through urban design?

Innovative solutions like vegetated canopies are being explored. These tensioned sail-like structures, when installed on building facades, offer shade and greenery, providing relief in urban areas where trees are limited.

How do vegetated canopies work and what is their purpose?

Vegetated canopies are sail-like structures attached to buildings with geotextile substrates, irrigation, and fertilization systems. They mimic natural canopies and aim to provide shade, absorb pollutants, reduce noise, and enhance air quality in urban spaces.

What is the role of evapotranspiration in the cooling process of vegetated canopies?

Evapotranspiration is the process by which plants release water into the atmosphere. In vegetated canopies, this phenomenon helps lower temperatures by transferring water to the air, contributing to cooling effects.

How do vegetated canopies contribute to air quality improvement?

The chosen plant species in the canopies absorb pollutants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, contributing to cleaner air in urban environments.

How do vegetated canopies impact urban biodiversity and ecosystems?

By creating a healthier urban ecosystem, vegetated canopies can potentially support various wildlife species, leading to urban biodiversity and a more balanced ecosystem.

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