Greening the building envelope is a rapidly developing field in the words of ecology, horticulture and built environment, since it’s an opportunity for combining nature and buildings (linking different functionalities) in order to address environmental issues in dense urban surroundings. A green envelope is a good opportunity for improving the urban environment conditions, since European cities tend to be densely built, becoming the scene of important environmental issues relative to pollution in the atmosphere. Vegetation allows improving the air quality, incrementing biodiversity and reducing urban heat islands thanks to its cooling and refreshing capacity, beside an aesthetical value. The massive integration of vegetation in architecture allows exploiting the surface (both horizontal and vertical) of the buildings to obtain the benefits mentioned above and, consequently, an improvement in environmental quality and inhabitants’ wellbeing. This paper discusses the environmental benefits achievable with the integration of vegetation in built space, the main characteristics of green envelope elements and typologies connected to theirs functional and formal peculiarity, to the contribution on the building envelope performances and to environmental and economical aspects.
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