Under pressure from other more sustainable buildings popping up around the world, London’s Gherkin Tower, designed by Norman Foster, has recently begun testing an innovative vegetated facade panel which promises to change the face of building design forever. This new “Green wall” product, known as the Core Hydraulic Integrated Arboury panel, promises to bring the benefits of green roofs to any exterior surface of any skyscraper.

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The panel works by soaking up moisture from the air and funneling it through its specialized membranes, which are able to generate enough water for plant growth. The plants, mostly a mixture of lichens and grasses, are expected to grow out of the panel and envelope the facade. Needless to say, the benefits of the panels are many: shading, increased internal daylighting, thermal insulation, reduced water consumption, energy generation for the entire building, recycling of materials, reduction of toxicity in the interior spaces, acceptance of the Kyoto treaty by the countries which have yet to sign, world peace, and a rise in property rental income.

IVG Asticus, the owners of the tower, are excited about their property. “The tower is expected to use less than half the energy consumed by air-conditioned office towers.”

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