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Biotecture’s benefits of greening up supermarket car parks

Biotecture’s Kirstin Monk explains the benefits of supermarkets greening up their car parks.

At Biotecture, we are on a mission to transform urban landscapes for both people and the planet, integrating vertical greening into our towns and cities to help reconnect people with nature.

People have an innate connection to nature, known as biophilia, and there is plenty of scientific evidence to prove the benefits of integrating nature into our urban spaces. Characterless, sterile environments leave us feeling exhausted and disengaged, whereas people in attractive spaces increase their dwell time and are likely to be motivated to return. People like plants, it’s a fact! Given car parks are often the customers’ first touch point with retailers, they present an untapped opportunity which creative landscaping can help address.

Car parks are traditionally noisy, stark functional spaces that often have little to no connection with the retail experience adjacent and may not contribute to the aesthetics of the local area.

Greening up supermarket car parks, both internally and externally, provides myriad benefits to retailers, both directly and indirectly, from enhancing the visitor experience and developing competitive advantage, to demonstrating consideration to the local community and enhancing the public realm.

The intelligent placement of greening can transform car parks into softer, more welcoming spaces and offer a return on investment that extends beyond increased footfall and spend.  Vertical greening also enables the integrating of plants without taking up premium floor space.

Greening up supermarket car parks, both internally and externally, provides myriad benefits to retailers.

Here are some of the myriad benefits of greening up car parks with living walls:

Enhances the visitor experience

Living walls can instantly add impact and interest to plain functional spaces, improving the aesthetics and the visitor welcome, both externally and internally. The integration of seasonal planting can generate year-round interest for regular shoppers and even create a talking point on social media.

With a little imagination, plain walls can be transformed, communicating their green credentials while simultaneously creating an extension of the retail experience and creating a positive first impression. Plants are also proven to reduce blood pressure and stress and improve feelings of wellbeing, which could benefit both shoppers and staff.

Interior and exterior living walls can be designed to integrate signage, lighting, information boards and logos, to seamlessly integrate with existing branding. At Biotecture we have even designed walls around sculptures, such as Bell Court Shopping Centre in Stratford-Upon-Avon where a relaxing courtyard was created directly in front of a multi storey car park which is completely obscured with a green wall.

Intu Car Park 

Reduces environmental impact

As supermarkets actively encourage motorists to visit their stores by providing large car parks, plants can play a vital role in the built environment to help mitigate the effects of urban living.

Dense planting can help muffle noise in car parks and particular plants are better suited to trapping and processing particulate matter from car exhaust fumes. Living walls can also help to reduce the temperatures of buildings and reduce the urban heat island effect, by preventing the absorption of solar radiation and its deflection back into the surrounding environment.

As supermarkets actively encourage motorists to visit their stores by providing large car parks, plants can play a vital role in the built environment to help mitigate the effects of urban living.

Increases biodiversity

Living walls also help increase local biodiversity, attracting birds, butterflies, bees and other insects and helping to fulfil local biodiversity action plans. Plants species can be chosen that are of ecological value to pollinating insects and that flower at different times of year to ensure a steady source of nutrition. Habitat boxes can also be incorporated into larger walls to provide food and sanctuary for a range of insects including ladybirds and lacewings.

Intu Car Park

Promotes green credentials

The integration of nature into car parks is therefore a way for supermarkets to actively promote their green credentials, bring their Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability strategies to life and help meet environmental targets. Living walls can act as billboards for companies to communicate their commitment to the environment, from increasing local biodiversity to reducing air pollution.  The sourcing of sustainable landscaping products made from recycled materials forms an important part of this messaging.

Enhances community relations

The build of new car parks can be contentious, especially multi-storey developments that can dominate the surroundings, especially in residential areas. The careful design of living walls to soften hard architectural lines and create a stunning natural feature can demonstrate consideration to the local community and help satisfy planning requirements.  Vertical greening is versatile and impactful, with options around choice of plants, colour palette and designs, depending on whether you are looking to create a new landmark or blend with the local landscape. There are also options to engage local schools, for example, with planting designs as part of an outreach programme.

Biotecture car park case studies:

About Biotecture

Biotecture is a leading vertical green infrastructure company based in Chichester, West Sussex. It designs, grows, installs and maintains living walls across the UK and overseas and has specialist knowledge around sustainable development and how to maximise broader return on investment. Biotecture has designed and patented a suite of sustainable living wall products made from recycled materials and successfully designed and installed living walls projects including car parks and retail outlets.

www.biotecture.uk.com

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