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Green Roofs and Living Walls: Home

A guide to information about green roofs and living walls and how to create them. Supports CIT 135 Construction Practices and Sustainability.


Welcome to the Green Roof and Living Walls guide!

Use this guide to help with your research and creation of green roofs and green facades. Iif you need additional help, ask a librarian at the desk in the library, email or call us, or use the chat box below.

General Questions and Reference Assistance


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What is a Green Roof?

"A green roof system is an extension of the existing roof which involves a high quality water proofing and root repellant system, a drainage system, filter cloth, a lightweight growing medium and plants.

Green roof systems may be modular, with drainage layers, filter cloth, growing media and plants already prepared in movable, interlocking grids, or, each component of the system may be installed separately.

Green roof development involves the creation of "contained" green space on top of a human-made structure. This green space could be below, at or above grade, but in all cases the plants are not planted in the "ground'.  Green roofs can provide a wide range of public and private benefits."

-- From the Green Roof Healthy Cities website

What is a Living Wall?

A living wall is usually part of the inside or exterior of a building and consists of some sort of vegetation. The plants receive water and nutrients from within the vertical support instead of from the ground. The French botanist and artist Patrick Blanc was a pioneer by creating the first vertical garden over 30 years ago. Also called green walls, vertical gardens, or ecowalls, they are often spectacular in appearance, and, can work to filter clean air into the building in which they are growing upon.

Musee du Quai Branly, Paris, designed by Patrick Blanc


Green façades differ from green walls in that their vegetative layer is rooted in the ground and grows up. The plants use a vertical surface, such as a wall, for structural support but do not receive any moisture or nutrients from it. A common example is an ivy wall. A major disadvantage is that the plants take a long time to cover the wall completely (often more than a decade!). In addition some climbers can do permanent damage. Their aerial roots penetrate small cracks and as they grow and expand it jeopardizes the structural integrity of a building. This method also limits the number of plant species that can be used. -- From Green over Grey 


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