Rice husk and thermal comfort: Design and evaluation of indoor modular green walls

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۴٫۲۷۶ در سال ۲۰۲۰

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Rice husk and thermal comfort: Design and evaluation of indoor modular green walls

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Rice husk and thermal comfort: Design and evaluation of indoor modular green walls


Green  walls  are  vertical greening structures where varied plant  species  grow.  They  are  conceived as a form  of urban landscape and  have  numerous environmental, social  and  economic benefits. In fact,  these  structures have positive effects on air quality, thermal and acoustic insulation, microclimate, psychophysical well-being and urban design. In the framework of thermal comfort, several studies demonstrated the potential of green  walls to improve indoor thermal comfort and  reduce heat  flows  through the  wall  of buildings.

This research evaluates the thermal efficiency of two modular green  walls that  present an alternative substrate as growing medium. This substrate is composed of loam  soil and  rice husk,  an agricultural organic waste  derived from  the  rice  milling  process.  The  choice  of rice  husk  is inspired by principles of circular economy in order  to reduce the  environmental impact and  costs  of the  substrate used  in greening applications. The  alternative  sub- strate was compared with  expanded clay aggregate, used for plant  cultivation in living walls, and the analysis was divided into  two  phases. Firstly,  field  experiments were  carried out  on  three plant  species  (Chlorophytum,  Dief- fenbachia  and  Spathiphyllum)  to evaluate the  efficacy  of these  substrates to grow  plants. The efficacy  of the  sub- strate was  evaluated through the  measurement of the  concentration of chlorophyll, the  determination of  the growth index  of plants and a qualitative observation of the root  development. Secondly, two modular green  walls with  varied substrates and  plants were  designed and  tested from  the  point  of view  of the  thermal comfort, using the  open  source  software TerMus-G.  After  the  transmittance value  was  obtained as output for each  green  wall module, the  heat  flow  and  the  relative variation were  calculated and  compared to the  indoor supporting walls. This article presents a valid  methodology approach to evaluate the  efficiency of green  walls  substrate and  its thermal performance. This  methodology differs  from  those  found  in scientific literature and  represents a valid


The present research demonstrates the  ability of designed modules and,  more  generally, of indoor green  walls to  increase thermal insulation without causing condensation. Furthermore, the  investigation shows  a positive contribution both  in winter and  in summer. Finally,  the  use of this  undervalue by-product rice husk  mixed  with loam  soil shows  to be appropriate for green  wall  application, providing better performance than  the  expanded clay in terms  of thermal comfort and plant  growth rate.  Moreover, its use as substrates should further improve the

ecological footprint of green  vertical structures and  reduce costs.

بخشی از متن مقاله:
  1. Introduction
  2. Green walls are vertical  systems on which a selection  of plant species are grown and they can be generally divided into green façades and living walls (Manso and Castro-Gomes,  ۲۰۱۵).  Green façades  are usually  built with  limited  selection  of climbing  plants  growing  directly  against  the wall or indirectly on a support  system (Vox et al., 2018).  Instead,  living walls are generally  more complex and present  a supporting structure on which   the  growing   medium   is  placed   (Gunawardena  and  Steemers,

    ۲۰۱۹a, 2019b). These structures are divided  into modular or continuous and  allow  a more  uniform  vegetation growth  (Perini  et al., 2013),  but may require frequent irrigation and supply of nutrients.

    In recent years, green spaces have decreased in urbanized areas due to the  excessive  exploitation of the  land  and  the  exponential increase  of concrete structures (Liberalesso   et  al.,  ۲۰۲۰).   However,  this  trend  is currently reversing  due  to the  implementation of sustainable develop- ment  policies  (Liberalesso  et al., 2020).  In this context,  green  walls are assuming  a dominant role  in the  design,  construction and

    buildings   or  districts,   contributing to  the  sustainability of  urban  and suburban areas (Francis  and Lorimer, 2011;  Liberalesso  et al., 2020).

    Conceived  as  a  form  of urban  landscape, green  walls  improve  its aesthetic value.  They also provided multiple  associated environmental, social and economic benefits (Manso et al., 2021).  Some of these benefits are  improving air  quality  (Pettit  et al., 2019),  increasing urban  biodi- versity (Madre  et al., 2015),  absorbing noise (Gunawardena and Steem- ers,  ۲۰۱۹a),  influencing the  urban   microclimate (Xing  et  al.,  ۲۰۱۹), improving psychological well-being  and social relationship (McCullough et al., 2018).

    In the  framework of thermal comfort,  several  studies  demonstrated the potential of green walls to improve building energy efficiency (Manso et al., 2021;  Mazzeo and  Kontoleon,  ۲۰۲۰).  Green walls and,  in partic- ular,  plant  coverage  improve  indoor  thermal comfort  in  summer  and winter, and reduce heat flows through the wall of buildings (Yoshimi and Altan, 2011).  This reduction corresponds to a lower annual  energy  con- sumption for heating and cooling (Yoshimi and Altan, 2011).  This effect depends  on a number of factors  such  as the  climatic  zone  and  season (Perez et al., 2014),  the orientation of the wall (Mazzeo and Kontoleon,

    ۲۰۲۰),  the type of substrate (Hunter et al., 2014),  the plant  species used (Libessart and Kenai, 2018)  and the percentage of wall covered  by plant materials (Widiastuti et al., 2020).

    This  study  evaluates the  thermal efficiency  of two  modular green walls that present an alternative substrate as growing medium. Rice husk, an agricultural organic  waste derived  from the rice milling process, was selected  to be tested  as alternative cultivation substrate. The choice  of this  material is inspired  by principles of circular  economy  in order  to reduce   the  environmental impact  and  costs  of  the  substrate used  in greening applications. Rice husk can be reused in numerous fields due to its  multifaceted characteristics (Bodie  et  al.,  ۲۰۱۹).  In the  context  of green  walls,  this  agricultural organic  waste  has  already   shown  to  be appropriate  for   growing    plants    if   associated  with   coconut    fibre (Rivas-Sanchez  et al., 2019;  Rivas Sanchez  et al., 2018)  or perlite,  river sand and peat (Dede et al., 2019).

    Section  ۲  illustrates the  different stages  and  tools  adopted in  the research, while Section 3 describes  the results obtained testing rice husk as an  alternative substrate from  the  point  of view  of plant  health  and thermal efficiency.  Finally, a Conclusions  Section underlines the advan- tages  of green  walls using rice husk  and  suggests  some future  research perspectives.

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