In Germany, Great Britain, Denmark, and many other countries worldwide, trees grow on rooftops. With such plantings, city authorities try to improve air quality in large cities. It looks beautiful, but representatives of the Dutch startup Respyre believe that maintaining green roofs can cost municipalities a lot of money. As an alternative, they suggest building houses, bridges, and other structures out of concrete on whose surface mosses can grow. Usually, mosses grow on surfaces that are already nearly destroyed, but the new kind of concrete has an inherently strong structure. Mosses grow by adding substances that encourage plants with small roots, such as mosses. Perhaps our cities will be decorated with “noble” moss in the future.
Mosses can grow on a new kind of concrete.
Urban air pollution
The air in many cities is foul, and we need to do something about it. The fact that city air is highly polluted has long been acknowledged. This is stated not only by the residents of these cities but also by the findings of scientific investigations. At the moment, scientists have compiled a list of the dirtiest cities and gathered data on their health effects – for example, it is clearly known that polluted air impairs children’s mental health. Environmentalists are using plantings to enhance the air quality in cities, but they are expensive to maintain. So why not use plants that don’t require a lot of attention?
Benefits of mosses
Mosses are one such plant. Even though they only grow up to 50 millimeters and have small roots, mosses can clean the air from exhaust fumes, dust, and smoke. Scientists highlight other environmental benefits of mosses. For example, they are able to retain radioactive substances. Also, these tiny plants play a significant role in regulating the water balance because they absorb and hold a large amount of water. In the construction industry, moss is sometimes used as an insulator. It turns out that if you cover buildings with a cover of moss, they will be warm inside and fresh air outside.
Moss is able to clean the urban air better than other plants.
A new type of environmentally friendly concrete
But how do you make moss grow on the surface of most buildings? During tests, representatives of Respyre noticed that moss grows only on the surface of old materials, which have a lot of cracks and can not boast particular strength. Learning about this, the researchers created a material that allows moss to grow on its surface but has high power. Since most buildings are built with concrete, the team decided to make an eco-friendly version.
The new type of concrete allows moss to grow on itself.
It is unknown how much time the company spent developing the eco-friendly concrete, but it has already been developed – its attributes are outlined in a literally wow essay on Yanko Design’s website. According to reports, the components added to the standard concrete composition give the new material porosity, the ability to retain water, acidity, and the presence of nutrients. If the new type of concrete is used in buildings under construction, moss can quickly grow on their surface, which purifies the air and retains harmful substances.
It is currently unknown when the new type of concrete will be used in construction.
According to Respyre, the mossy walls of houses and other structures can be more effective for cleaning the city’s air than “green” roofs of houses. The advantage of moss is that it can cover a large surface area. It also requires little attention like trees and other plants and therefore requires less of a monetary investment.
It seems that Respyre representatives want the future houses to look like old castles that have been through many centuries. I wonder how it will combine with neon signs and other trappings of the “future” that is described in fantasy novels and movies.