Impact of ambient air temperature, orientation, and plant status on the thermal performance of green façades

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The growing interest in energy savings and environmental sustainability in buildings has led to green buildings and green façades being considered as innovative solutions. This paper aimed to quantify the impact of ambient air temperature, orientation (west and north) and climbing plant status and type (leaf area index, percent coverage, deciduous and non-deciduous) on the thermal performance of green façades including external wall and gap cooling/warming effects. Temperatures of biological façades (i.e. green façade) and non-biological façades (i.e. shade sail) were monitored over 12 months in Perth, Western Australia, under a Mediterranean climate. Air temperatures within the gaps between the façade and external walls were also monitored. The average monthly daytime gap temperatures behind the green façades were always lower than ambient air and those behind the shade sails (up to 4 °C). The orientation of the façade relative to solar angle controlled the duration of solar irradiance; seasonal variations were observed in the relative contribution of evapotranspirative cooling to overall gap cooling, even in non-deciduous green façades. Despite the complex relationships between evapotranspirative cooling and a range of ecophysiological and micro-climate parameters, simple linear correlations were found between ambient air and gap temperatures (R2 > 0.8). This emphasizes the dominance of ambient air temperature in controlling the thermal performance of green facades. This thermal performance assessment and the gap temperature simulation can help urban designers, architects, and environmental engineers improve building and façade design to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113389
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


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