Sustainability Associate, Landscape Architecture
In 2014, the City of Fort Collins launched the “Nature in the City” initiative to ensure every citizen has access to nature close to where we live and work. The focus of the initiative is on how our built environment can better contribute to our sense of nature within Fort Collins. One of the deliverables that IBE has been supporting is the development of a set of design guidelines aimed at implementation of design features that enhance ecological function and access to nature within the built environment.
However, many of these approaches have not been proven in our regional climate. One of these design features are ‘living’ or green walls.
Partnering to Build Colorado’s First Outdoor Green Wall
IBE lead the administration, design, and installation of the first perennial, outdoor green wall in the State of Colorado in collaboration with: Perspective Design, the Urban Lab, CSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, and The City of Fort Collins Planning, Parks, Operation Services, Stormwater, and Natural Areas departments.
Why a Green Wall?
Green walls improve both indoor and outdoor air quality, provide the building insulation from heat and cold while protecting the wall from water and sunlight. They help lower summer temperatures in cities by reducing heat gain on hard surfaces, known as the urban heat island effect. Green walls add vegetation to the urban environment and provide habitat for urban animal species.
Green walls are also great for people. Studies have shown that viewing and interacting with greenery reduces stress and mental fatigue, while improving feelings of neighborhood safety and overall well being.
The Fort Collins Green Wall project will serve as a high profile case study on the feasibility and creation of green walls in arid climates. The wall has been designed to showcase plants work best in a vertical setting and how urban habitats can be enhanced through green walls. The project will continue to monitor success, evaluating the resilience of the plants, the efficiency of watering, and if energy savings are seen in the adjoining building structure.
American Society of Landscape Architects, Green Infrastructure
City of Fort Collins Nature in the City Initiative