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Optima Meadow Vertical Rainscreen Facade mounted with flowers

New Partnership Between Sotech and Vertical Meadow Produces a ‘Living Wall’ FaCade for a Sustainable Future

Leading rainscreen manufacturer Sotech has partnered with leading urban biodiversity company Vertical Meadow to introduce an innovative ‘living wall’ rainscreen cladding solution designed to enhance urban environments and bring back wildlife to our densely populated cities.

‘Optima Meadow’, the groundbreaking new rainscreen system spearheaded by Vertical Meadow founder Alistair Law, provides a biodiverse, attractive and sustainable approach to urban greening by integrating plant life directly into vertical building façades.

Optima Meadow - Rainscreen Facade Panel with flowers

Optima Meadow Vertical Rainscreen Facade mounted with flowers

“This concept takes seeds from a meadow and places them vertically, into an innovative rainscreen cladding system”, explained Graham Todd Technical Director from Sotech.

“The solution is integrated into our fully drained and back-ventilated hook on rainscreen system,” added Graham. “As ever, design, safety and functionality have been front and centre in our approach.”

The timely new partnership is set to provide a creative way to introduce biodiversity back into cities, especially in densely populated areas with limited greenspace available.

“We’re very excited about our new partnership”, said Alistair Law, Founder and CEO of Vertical Meadow. “With our approach, there is no pre-growing of plants in nurseries, or wet and dirty transportation of  fragile live plants as we have found an innovative way to integrate seeds directly into the mineral wool in the factory into Sotech’s Optima FC+ hook on rainscreen system. We’ve done all the work in the manufacturing process and onlookers can expect to see green shoots from 7-10 days of installing the system.”

Demo wall

Using the Optima Meadow product provides a creative way to meet the new requirements of Environment Act 2021, through which the UK government introduced a mandatory biodiversity net gain obligation. This new obligation became effective from February 2024.

BNG is a development strategy aimed at ensuring that wildlife habitats are improved compared to their pre-development state.  Developers are required to achieve a BNG of 10%, meaning that the development must result in a net increase in the quantity or quality of natural habitats.  To help satisfy this requirement, Vertical Meadow has worked with experts at The Wildlife Trust, Buglife and Professor Nigel Dunnett to ensure the Optima Meadow system delivers on biodiversity.

Optima Meadow Vertical Rainscreen Cladding with flowers

“These ‘vertical meadows’ not only help designers to meet requirements,” added Alistair, “but also create beautiful focal points for onlookers, maximise the available communal roof space on existing buildings and attract bees and other wildlife back into our cities.

Permanent installations of our solution contribute directly to BREEAM sustainability assessment points, Biodiversity Net Gain and Urban Greening Factors as now stipulated for planning permission.

Specifically, our product uses species-rich native grass and wildflower seed mixes to provide a haven for pollinators, insects, birds and butterflies.”

Vertical flower walls and biodiversity net gain 2

Optima Meadow is inventive not only in its approach to ‘greening’ but in the way the plants are monitored and maintained. Unlike other solutions, Optima Meadow is a dry product which is delivered to site, connected to an irrigation system, wifi, power and water supplies, and then switched on to begin the germination process. Over time the plants begin to grow and flower, and progress is monitored via simple inspection and maintenance apps.         

“There is a huge market for this product”, added Alistair. “We have Vertical Meadow installations in London and abroad and are having developed conversations with markets including data centres, schools and commercial offices. If you consider a data centre, for example, there is a huge volume of vertical space available for this type of Vertical Meadow installation. Aside from the greening benefits, a Vertical Meadow solution like this improves energy efficiency through cooling, improves biodiversity and reduces noise attenuation”.

Press play to hear Vertical Meadow founder Alistair Law and Sotech’s Technical Director Graham Todd explain the product and its applications.

Made from A1 components, Optima Meadow ensures high safety standards. Additionally, the use of Eco 3, 5000 series aluminium, which is 94% recycled aluminium, enhances the project’s commitment to sustainability.

Alistair Law, the visionary founder of Vertical Meadow, brings extensive experience from his tenure at Arup – a global collective of designers, consultants and experts dedicated to sustainable development – where he originally conceived the idea. With Arup’s support, Alistair has driven this initiative to fruition, securing strong patents that make this the only cladding system of its kind in the world.

The new living wall solution not only prioritises insect life and biodiversity but is also self-maintained, ensuring minimal upkeep. As cities worldwide seek to incorporate more green spaces, this innovative product offers a viable, long-lasting solution to enhance urban biodiversity and aesthetics.

Stratford Optima Meadow Vertical Meadow Demonstrator Wall

Optima Meadow is available to specify through the Sotech technical team today. Walls are also being mounted across the UK for designers, installers and contractors to see the living wall solution in person (details below).

See full system details >> 


Demonstrator Wall Locations:

Stratford X, International Quarter London, The Holden Building, 5 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, E20 1HZ

Mayfair, The Sixteen, 16 Hanover St, London, W1S 1YD, 3 VM HQ

Vertical Meadow HQ UNIT 6, 16 Dartmouth Park Hill Road, London, NW5 1HL

Sotech HQ, 2 Traynor Way, Whitehouse Business Park, Co. Durham. SR8 2RU

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