Early-stage design of a low-embodied carbon and cost-effective green facade system

Maricruz Solera Jimenez*, João Cortesão, Sanda Lenzholzer, Ralf Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Green facade systems (GFS) are a growingly popular resource in climate adaptation. However, current GFS are characterized mainly by high costs, high embodied carbon and short life span materials. This study presents the early-stage design of a cost-effective and low-embodied carbon GFS prototype. This prototype was developed and tested with a research through design (RTD) methodology. The first RTD iteration dealt with cost-effectiveness and low-embodied carbon and categorized the prototypes into three main GFS design typologies: facade-based typology, balcony forest typology, and the redesign of a GFS patented facade-based product. In iteration 2, the designs produced in iteration 1 were evaluated through a life cycle and cost analysis of the three typologies and the existing designs were refined. Finally, in iteration 3, the hydrological and structural performance was tested as a 3D printed GFS mock-up. This process resulted in a modular, cost-effective and low-embodied carbon early-stage GFS prototype. It was found that the selected materials (recycled), plants, substrate (with high-water holding capacity), GFS typology (façade-based with a light structure) and its fixing system (modular) lowered the costs and the embodied carbon of the GFS prototype by comparison to other GFS products.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106588
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Early-stage design of a low-embodied carbon and cost-effective green facade system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this