Respyre, a spin-off company of the Dutch Delft University of Technology, developed a concrete and a concrete plaster that accommodates the growth of moss on its surface, to bring vegetation into the urban environment.
What Respyre has developed is a patent-pending “bioreceptive” (“receptive to biodiversity”) concrete solution. After hardening, the concrete’s surface accommodates the growth of moss. The concrete is designed in such a way it is porous and retains water. In addition, nutrients are included in the mixture to create the perfect setting for moss to thrive on.
Moss was chosen because it has rhizoids instead of roots. Unlike roots, rhizoids are nondestructive and function mainly as an adhesive. Respyre’s concrete has been especially designed to suit the rhizoids.
The concrete can either used for new projects, or applied as a plaster to an existing structure. Once placed in a suitable environment the bioreceptive concrete facilitates the spontaneous growth of moss. The added nutrients ensure the moss grows quickly. Additionally, the moss can be grafted, leading to even quicker results.
Unlike many other green façades, Respyre’s does not require complicated anchoring systems. It also requires no tending, making it low-maintenance and, according to the company, cost-effective. Respyre selects the right types of moss for the desired environment. It is also possible to arrange the growth for aesthetic results.
So why would you want moss to grow on your concrete façade? Aside from the aesthetics, through evapotranspiration of retained water, the moss can cool the structure down. Additionally, the green façade protects the structure from the forces of weather, which can contribute to lengthening the life of the structure. Finally, moss has air-cleaning properties.