Bedford's First Living Wall
In July 2021, The Store partnered with local resident, Alan Cooley of Silverfileds Living Walls and Bedford Borough Council to construct Bedford's first living wall. This is located on the exterior wall of St Cuthbert's Arcade where The Store is located.
What is a Living Wall?
A green wall is a large structure made up of panels or plants that are grown vertically. The plants are either attached to an internal or external wall and can be used as a design feature in many different places. All of the plants within the green wall system can be selected based on preference, environment conditions and brand requirements.
Our wall is north facing and in a fully shaded area with no direct sunlight. This impacted the choice of plants used in our wall to use only plants that would hopefully survive in this area.
The plants that are included in the living wall promote the habitat of birds, butterflies and insects, especially in the city environment which is mainly concrete and asphalt.
Plants filter particulate matter from the air and convert CO2 into oxygen. At 11m2 this living wall extracts 25.3kg of CO2 per annum from the air and produces 18.7kg of oxygen
Acts as a sound barrier to the building, absorbing 41% more sound that a traditional facade meaning that the environment is much quieter both inside and outside.
Because the plants act as a water buffer, this delays the discharge of rainwater to the sewage system, purifies the rainwater, and water also evaporates through the plants. This all helps stabilise the ground water level.
Plants absorb sunlight, 50% is absorbed and 30% reflected; so this helps to create a cooler and more pleasant climate. An outdoor living wall also has a positive influence on the heat-island effect in the city.
Living and working in a green environment has a positive effect on the well-being of people. Greenery offers relaxation and reduces stress plus adds a positive aesthetic addition to our town.
Being in and around nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, has a calming effect on us and reduces anger, fear, stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
In an increasingly concrete world, it's important that we have these scenes of nature where-ever possible to help bring balance back to our town.
I wanted to bring a slice of nature to our beautiful urban street and add to the health of our planet.
After a very difficult year in 2020, I decided I wanted to give something back to Bedford to help with it’s recovery and healing after a massive knock on all of our mental health. It’s only small but I hope you can all benefit from.
Constructed by Alan Cooley of Silverfields Living Walls