Sustaining a green façade

Our award winners, with a prototype of their self-irrigating building facade plant system

You’ve probably seen plants being grown on the façade of buildings, which helps to keep the building cool. But have you ever wondered how the plants are watered? Well, some are manually watered with a hose, while others have auto watering systems that make use of sprinklers or drippers. Both methods consume a lot of water.

Now, a team of students from TP’s Diploma in Integrated Facility Management (IFM) have invented a water-saving, self-irrigating, façade-plant system, called the “Sustainable Breathing Building Façade”.

The system taps on rainwater collected and stored in a rooftop tank. Water is passed from the tank to a reservoir, from which water is then transmitted to the plants continually via water-absorbing wicks – this ensures an even distribution of water and prevents over-watering. During wet weather, a rain-sensor shuts off a tap so that water stops flowing to the reservoir and hence the wicks. When the level of rainwater in the tank falls below a pre-set threshold during the dry season, a sensor inside the tank activates the building’s PUB water supply, replenishing the tank.

The invention won the IFM students an Encouragement award in the annual Green Wave Environmental Care competition held in November 2019. They were among 15 finalists short-listed from more than 70 entries submitted for the competition.

The project is an example of how students in TP’s Diploma in IFM apply their knowledge to come up with innovative and practical inventions that benefit the environment.

For more information about the Diploma in Integrated Facility Management, click here.