• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 9, No 6 (2018)

Living Material as a Building Façade: The Effect of Moss Growth toward Mechanical Performance on Pre-vegetated Concrete Panels

Living Material as a Building Façade: The Effect of Moss Growth toward Mechanical Performance on Pre-vegetated Concrete Panels

Title: Living Material as a Building Façade: The Effect of Moss Growth toward Mechanical Performance on Pre-vegetated Concrete Panels
Intan Chairunnisa, Dalhar Susanto

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Published at : 07 Dec 2018
Volume : IJtech Vol 9, No 6 (2018)
DOI : https://doi.org/10.14716/ijtech.v9i6.2445

Cite this article as:
Chairunnisa, I., Susanto, D., 2018. Living Material as a Building Façade: The Effect of Moss Growth toward Mechanical Performance on Pre-vegetated Concrete Panels . International Journal of Technology. Volume 9(6), pp. 1266-1275

Intan Chairunnisa Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia
Dalhar Susanto Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, Kampus UI Depok, Depok 16424, Indonesia
Email to Corresponding Author

Living Material as a Building Façade: The Effect of Moss Growth toward Mechanical Performance on Pre-vegetated Concrete Panels

The increasing construction of tall buildings in Indonesia has led to the reduction of green areas and the increase use of building materials such as concrete panels. This research sees the potential of building façades created by using concrete panels as media for growing plants to replace those green areas that have decreased. The plants that are used in this research are selected based on the climatic conditions of tropical countries in Indonesia. The plants that are chosen are fast growing, require less maintenance, and are considered to be suitable for cementitious materials. A previous study has found that bryophyte moss meets those criteria. This research compares the performance of pre-vegetated and non-pre-vegetated concrete panels by investigating compressive strength through laboratory experiments. Three mixes of concrete, three moss species, and three concrete surfaces were examined with 9 panels, 27 cube samples, and 9 cube controls. The study contributes to a growing body of research on the sustainability of building façades in which further investigation is needed.

Living material; Precast concrete panel; Pre-vegetated concrete panel


Building development has been increasing to fulfill human needs and activities. A broad range of housing, apartment, retail, and skyscraper developments in the world are mostly constructed with concrete. Large-scale urban development has affected vegetation areas and their properties (trees, shrubs, grasses, etc.) as these green areas give way to concrete blocks. Urban development reduces the availability of green areas (Kiran et al., 2005). Hardened areas in buildings such as roofs, walls, balconies, and other areas can be transformed into plant vegetation areas and replace the grounded vegetation into a more sustainable building (Johnston & Newton, 1993). Plants that are grown on, up, or against internal or external walls of buildings or as freestanding structures are called vertical greenery (Mansor et al., 2017). One building in Newbury changed its façade from basic concrete (which is considered dull and unattractive) to vertical greenery, positively improving the aesthetic performance of the building and improving air quality (Ord, 2017). To create successful vertical greenery, the plant must be chosen carefully. Several plants hold their own soil or artificial growing mediums, which most of these systems need for more complex façade design (Rakhshandehroo et al., 2015). Other plants grow on the surfaces of building façades as hybrid materials of living things and an object called living material. A plant which does not require special care is moss. Moss can grow on wood panels without any light, water, or specific care (Garty, 2003).

Moss is the second largest plant group after tall plants. The number of mosses is approximately 18,000 species worldwide and 1,500 species in Indonesia. Indonesia is a tropical country, characterized by high rainfall and year-round sunshine, allowing various types of moss to grow. The vital roles of moss in environmental ecology include contributions to the nutrient-and-water cycle, the carbon-exchange cycle, and protecting the environment (Waldi, 2017). On the other hand, moss that grows on building materials tends to cause deterioration and damage to the material (Lisci et al., 2003). Other studies show that moss can provide benefits for historic buildings, for example protecting images of carved petroglyphs, moisture regulators for fragile stone materials, etc. (Chiari & Cossio, 2002) In these studies, it was found that moss has the potential to be used as a plant that is useful for buildings, so it is possible to be developed as research.

This study aimed to engineer moss growth on the surface of precast concrete panels and analyze the mechanical performance of these panels. The moss growth was calculated to examine the successful growth.


The present work characterizes the performance of pre-vegetated and non-pre-vegetated concrete panels. The study utilized the concrete standard for characterization, which allows for a comparison to pre-vegetated concrete. The results of the study indicate that pre-vegetated concrete panels have properties that compare with or surpass that of non-pre-vegetated concrete panels as nonstructural concrete. Among three trial mixes chosen, it was found that TM I (a mixture of fly ash) had the highest compressive strength on pre-vegetated and non-pre-vegetated concrete panels. In conclusion, as a nonstructural concrete panel, all the trial mixes matched the standard of K-175, surpassing 14.5 Mpa in compressive strength. Further investigation is needed to provide a wide range of structural concrete that can be used in pre-vegetated concrete panels.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the Research and Development Division of Wika Beton Inc. for their support on the concrete panels, samples, and funding of the research project.


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