Keeping Cool, Staying Green Indoors

Most people when they hear the term 'skyrise greenery', they think it literally means 'greenery in the sky'.

The concept of skyrise greening involves integrating greenery into the urban landscape and this can be categorised into two main aspects: rooftop greenery (green roofs and roof gardens) and vertical greenery (green walls).

Rooftop greenery at Singapore Management University (above left) and at Liang Seah Place (above right).

Outdoor vertical greenery installations at the F1 Pit Building (above left) and at Loof @ Odeon Towers (above right).

Over the years, as more Singaporeans become aware of the need to balance our natural heritage and the built environment, there is greater interest in skyrise greenery. So much so, this concept has now seeped into indoor landscaping, providing a seamless transition of greenery from outdoors to indoors.

Indoor vertical greenery is favoured is due to several factors:

  1. Aesthetic Appeal - A green wall adds vibrancy to an otherwise dull monotone space. Having an indoor living wall also creates memorable spaces within everyday places.
  2. Air Quality - it improves the air quality of the workplace or home environment as the plants are able to absorb and break down a variety of pollutants, notably volatile organic compounds.
  3. Acoustic Insulation - It absorbs sounds well by acting as 'padding' against sound, thus making rooms more conducive for holding meetings or discussions. However, the effectiveness depends on the profile thickness and density of the coverage of greenery.

One example of an indoor skyrise greenery project is the extensive green wall found at the Standard Chartered Building at 6 Battery Road. Termed  'Rainforest Rhapsody', this wall features about 123 foliage and ornamental flowering plant species. It received an honourable mention at the Skyrise Greenery Awards (SGA) 2011 and the architect for this project is world-renowned Dr Patrick Blanc, pioneer of the vertical garden.

The vertical greenery installation in the atrium of the Standard Chartered Building at 6 Battery Road.

Another indoor green wall can be found at HSBC office – Mapletree Business Centre. Here, stretches of greenery line the whitewashed walls in this office, providing a burst of colours. These green walls help to provide visual and noise relief for its occupants, thus, creating a calm work environment for its occupants.

The use of support green wall systems to create various strips of greenery makes the HSBC office more vibrant (above left and right).

Green wall systems using planters line HSBC's office common corrifor (above left and right).

When considering an indoor vertical greenery installation, it is important to take note of the following.

Lighting Conditions and Locations:
Do ensure that adequate sunlight is received according to the various plants needs. It would be preferable if the green wall is located next to a window or a skylight. In cases where natural sunlight is lacking, you will need to use artificial growth lights to aid the plants' development.

Growth lights are necessary for healthy plant growth in your indoor vertical greenery installation. Growth lights are utilised for the green walls at Marina Bay City Gallery (above left) and at HSBC's Mapletree Business Centre office (above right).

Irrigation needs:
Indoor vertical greenery installations generally require up to five times less irrigation than outdoor installations. However, this depends on the choice of plant species.

Plant Selection:
One also needs to choose the appropriate plants for indoor vertical greenery, as they must be able to survive in air-conditioned spaces.

Drainage outlet for vertical greenery installations:
Do also ensure that there is a drainage tray to collect the irrigated water at the base of your indoor vertical greenery installation so as to avoid unsightly puddles forming at the base of these displays.

Drainage outlets are essential for indoor vertical greenery installations as can be seen at the green wall for HSBC - Mapletree Business Centre (above left) and at the Marina Bay City Gallery (above right).

By Lok Yan Ling

If you wish to know more about creating your own small scale green wall at home, please refer to A Vertical Garden For Your Home produced by Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE), which can be purchased at Singapore Botanic Gardens retail shops or through CUGE website. This guide provides information on how you can start your own green wall and maintain it. You can also check out our website or email us at

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