Technological advancements have taken exterior facades to a whole new level of complexity, going beyond the basic brief of aesthetics to delivering more functional benefits to the building.

Smart facades, walls and roofs do a lot more than just look good. They are used to provide thermal insulation to a building, reduce stormwater runoff, increase biodiversity, and provide more greenery in a concrete city. Smart exterior facades also absorb smog and noise pollution, shade the building, and even improve people’s stress and happiness levels.

There are three key areas that need to be considered when installing a smart exterior facade.

1. Design.

Maximise the benefits of an exterior facade through well-considered design. For instance, it’s important to understand the structural load the facade will need to take before deciding on the installation. A green facade should consider the site’s aspect and exposure to the sun, so that the most suitable materials and plants are selected.

If the facade is exposed fully to the sun, and the aim of the facade is to create a shade barrier, a structure that includes Webnet mesh from Tensile will help with sun shading and the overall thermal performance of the building.

Another solution that has been used in a number of projects is Tensile’s Webnet ID, a pliable high strength mesh that can also be used as a screen to differentiate spaces. It is suitable for a number of situations such as reflecting a corporate logo, or creating a unique design with different tiles on the interior and exterior of the building. Webnet ID is manufactured in stainless steel or aluminium and comes in a range of colours, allowing unique and fully customisable designs to be created.

2. Installation.

Exterior facades are best installed during the building process so that the design can be incorporated into the building rather than just added as an afterthought. Roofs, walls and facades can be installed on existing buildings, as long as the structure has the capacity to hold a facade and the design can be incorporated into the existing structure.

3. Maintenance.

Exterior facades are created to impress, but for these structures to continue to look good (and impress), maintenance should not be ignored. Maintenance is a critical part of any exterior facade. Any component made from timber or metal will need continuous care; however materials such as Webnet mesh need very little maintenance. If the facade includes plants, the irrigation system must be monitored for performance.

Image: Webnet ID on a hotel facade design