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Table 5 Discussion of issues raised regarding the current situation and the proposed algae facades

From: Bio-algae: a study of an interactive facade for commercial buildings in populated cities

  Original building skin
(current situation-curtain facade)
Algae building skin
(Proposed facade)
Project illustration View full size image
Public Benefits Urban Heat Island Effect - Using artificial cooling.
- No shading devices.
- High temperature around the building.
- Promotes natural cooling processes
- Provides shade for surfaces/people
- Reduces the ambient temperature in urban areas
Exterior Air Quality High levels of harmful particles in the air and volatile organic compounds because of a large numbers of HVAC - Captures airborne pollutants
- Filters noxious gases and particulate matter
- Deposition of pollutants and atmosphere
Aesthetic Its aesthetic appearance is acceptable, although unsuitable for hot countries. - Provide aesthetic variation in the environment
- Increases property values
- Creates visual interest، hides/obscures unsightly features
Private Benefits Energy Efficiency Daylight - Use of artificial lighting.
- Reliance on natural lighting is limited or nonexistent.
- Contributes to transmitting natural light inside the building, as it allows creating shades as desired by the user with different colors according to the type of algae.
Thermal - The glass facades have a big role in heat transfer inside the building with minor lag.
- Use of artificial ventilation to reduce thermal loads inside the building.
- Improves thermal insulation capacity.
- Limits the transfer of heat through thick algae mass.
- Reduces the ambient temperature via processes of shading.
- The watery environment of algae also helps to reduce thermal loads.
  Original building skin (current situation-curtain facade) Algae building skin
(Proposed facade)
Biofuel Does not contribute. - Production of biofuels (oil/lipid per dry weight. (
Private Benefits Building Structure Buildings exposed to the weathering elements and UV with time - Protects exterior finishes from UV radiation, and temperature fluctuations.
Indoor Air Quality - Does not contribute to the renewal of air inside the building.
- Resorts to mechanics for cooling, heating, and lighting.
- Captures airborne pollutants.
- Filters noxious gases and volatile organic compounds, absorbing CO2
Noise Contributes to the transmission of sounds easily; therefore, noise-insulating materials must be used. - The depth of the growing media, structural components, and the overall coverage reduce noise.
Marketing - The HVAC system and artificial lighting are required for these buildings, making it more challenging to market. - Improved aesthetics can help to market a project and provide valuable amenity space.
Reduce CO2 - Using algae facade reduces the level of CO2. The curtain facade does not contribute to this.
Efficient application & usage - The algae facade integrates into the entire building site design and uses multiple systems and forms.
- Specific benefits can include security, privacy screening, shade, biodiversity, and habitat.
- It has the highest growth rate; it does not require using freshwater.
Concerns - worry about health concerns due to the presence of algae in the space.
- It needs highly efficient and specialized maintenance, and in case it is not available, it will lead to problems.
- The negative perception of algae, which is associated with odors, therefore needs special care.