The first living wall at Texas A&M was installed on the Langford building rooftop by students from three colleges during the spring semester (2013). Considered a new green technology in North America, this student lead installation is a pilot project to investigate green or “living wall” technology in central Texas. Plants are grown in vertically aligned modules that hold soil and plants. None of the plant species installed on the living wall have been investigated on living walls in Texas and so we hope to find out which plant species are adaptable. The potential benefits and advantages of living walls include reduction in thermal loadings on walls, retention of stormwater, aesthetics and habitat for small insects, butterflies or birds. The wall has a drip irrigation system that conserves water by delivering water only directly to the roots, and for short periods of time. After a year or so, it may be possible to reduce irrigation to only during drought or infrequently. For now, we plan to irrigate almost daily to keep plants green and ensure that they have resources needed to establish. The plants were fertilized once while they were still in the greenhouse. Students will keep watch, to observe progress of the plants and help determine how to best maintain the wall. Students will be planning for and installing the second living wall this summer.
—Bruce Dvorak, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning