Researchers have developed a “living concrete” that grows moss, lichens and fungi that could turn city buildings into giant air purifiers
Spanish researchers have developed a porous, acidic concrete that acts almost like soil for moss, lichen, fungi and other drought-tolerant vegetation.
They are using the material to construct prototypes of office building capable of sucking more CO2 and pollution out of the air than thousands of trees, while emitting fresh oxygen for us to breathe.
A moss-growing bench in London alone does the work of 275 trees, imagine what a whole building made of the stuff can do.
That’s good news for crowded cities that unfortunately don’t have room for large groves of trees.
The idea of vertical gardens or “green walls” has been trendy for a couple of decades, but they only exist on about 60 buildings around the world so far because complicated structural engineering is required to attach the plants and soil to the building.
“Living concrete” could take the concept of green walls to the next level.
It’s composed of three layers. The innermost layer is a waterproofs the building underneath it, protecting against moisture damage. The middle is the biological, water-absorbing layer, which supports colonization of organisms like moss, lichen, and fungi. And the outer layer is a coating with a reverse waterproofing that allows water to seep in but not out.
The vegetation also insulates the building, helping regulate indoor temperatures and further cutting back on emissions from air-conditioners and heaters.