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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthordelprado
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017

    What does everyone think about this? I always thought it was rubbish that it was bad for walls, given how many historic buildings have. And made sure it doesn't grow into roof, etc
    • CommentAuthorRoger
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    It can protect against weathering as long as pointing is more or less sound, and if kept out of roofs, windows etc..

    Danger comes when someone cuts through the base, and the relatively harmless anchor roots transform into water-seeking roots, and drive in searching for moisture.
    I am a little skeptical.

    I think they have rather ignored the more important scenario of seriously damaged buildings, which is the really long-term deterioration of the quality of the wall underneath.

    eg I do not think that they have demonstrated that a wall that was covered in ivy starting in say 1925 or 1965 would be more sound in 2025 than a wall that was sound in 1925 or 1965 and not covered in ivy.

    And they do not seem to have evaluated the long term damage by ivy roots on a building vs the extra damage caused by extra temp. swings, heating, humidity etc by not having the ivy there.

    I think that that is the telling case that does the existential damage to privately owned or domestic buildings, rather than short durations and organisations like EH and the NT which employ surveyors and gardeners and can do regular professional inspections.

    If I do want a climber, I think I can probably find another one that will offer some of the benefits without the same risks.

    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    Posted By: ferdinand2000If I do want a climber, I think I can probably find another one that will offer some of the benefits without the same risks.

    Jasmine is nice !


    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    Reading University have been researching this for a number of years and it does seem to save energy on poorly insulated homes

    I think homes should be well insulated and in these cases the negatives far out weigh the positive outcomes.
    • CommentAuthordelprado
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    I probably should have reworded the subject line. All I wanted to believe was not that it is good, but that it is not harmful, because its so lovely and charming :)

    I know the conventional wisdom for climbing plants if you are worried is to grow those which are not self clinging
    I would be interested in others' comments.

    My experience was that a house which had had ivy on waterproof but old rubbefill walls for a period, which were then exposed for several decades, essentially needed repointing throughout because it had taken the "sharpness" off the stone.

    ie we had a photo from 1919 showing total ivory covering, and later reports of the same, but in the mid-1970s only one facade was covered.

    This was sandstone. The ashlar quoins survived OK.

    That alone is one variable which may not be in the paper, which I cannot find.

    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    Posted By: ferdinand2000showing total ivory covering

    is this in India, or Africa ?
    wood not be allowed now...

    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    Posted By: gyrogearJasmine is nice !

    But isn't a climber! It's a twiner.
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2017
    Posted By: delpradoI probably should have reworded the subject line. All I wanted to believe was not that it is good, but that it is not harmful, because its so lovely and charming :)

    It is clearly harmful in some cases, so the precautionary principle indicates that we should avoid it entirely.

    Which is said with tongue somewhat in cheek, but contains a grain of truth IMHO.

    What is certain is that there's no way I will allow a clinging climber on the walls of my house, and that wherever I see ivy in my garden I will try to eradicate it. By contrast, I'll happily allow lonicera japonica Halliana a place in the graden, whilst there are parts of the USA where it's an offence to grow it.
    Ivy will destroy a soft mortar and push apart the wall. On old (lime) walls it is seriously destructive.
    On a new brick and cement mortar you might be ok, but it will find any tiny crevice to put roots into. I wouldn't have it on any building i cared about.
    It keeps the wall wetter, (it collects dust, dirt, bird poo and old leaves behind it) so i can't see how it helps with insulation…? I've pulled loads of it off walls and its not a clean job.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2017
    It messes up roof tiles big time

    Overall don't let it grow on your walls
    • CommentAuthordelprado
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2017
    I'm still not sure I am convinced - I go back to my examples of all sorts of historic buildings being covered in it - albeit not left to grow into roof spaces, etc.
    I had ivy growing on a stone/mortar wall and it grew through the wall and started to dislodge stones as the roots grew. It also got to the roof and started to dislodge roof tiles. So IMO ivy on walls is not a good idea however much you may like the look of it, as I did.
    • CommentAuthorlineweight
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2017
    One consequence, whether or not it actively damages the wall, is that you can't see the wall. So, if, say there is a leaking gutter that is slowly but continually leaking water down the face of the wall, you might never know about it until the damage becomes serious enough that more drastic things start happening.
    • CommentAuthorskyewright
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2017
    Posted By: delpradoI'm still not sure I am convinced - I go back to my examples of all sorts of historic buildings being covered in it - albeit not left to grow into roof spaces, etc.

    Just because an historic building has it now, doesn't necessarily mean it had that level of ivy years ago when it had a large, cheap, workforce of gardeners to keep things under control.
    Just a thought...
    Ivy on walls: No, No, NO.
    Reviving an old thread.

    Call me mad, but I'm going to give this a go as an experiment (letting ivy climb up our house).

    Why? A tall 3 story sandstone cottage with horrendous strap/weather-struck pointing. When we get wind driven rain, the rain penetrates the outer leaf of the wall, accumulates and then comes into the house at two different points. There are large damp patches on the outer leaf which may indicate where the rain is accumulating generally, whilst these areas show up darker than the rest of the wall (and are a little green) it's unclear exactly where the rain penetrates.

    I've repointed the front elevation of the house (just one story high as we're built into the valley side), the back of the house is just too big a job for me at the moment, and difficult to access.

    I'll be keep a careful watch on how it grows including roofline/guttering.. And if it doesn't work, we'll save up for scaffold and pointing.
    There are several sorts of climbers some will damage walls (those with aerial roots) some will not (those with suckers but not rots). Traditional ivy has aerial roots that will damage mortar so best take advice about which variety will be OK. Also if you change your mind later ivy can be a devil to get rid of.
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeMar 30th 2021
    This one was definitely saving on heating, though the lighting bills would have been higher than average:

    I spent years fighting against ivy in the garden, so would never let it near my house.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2021
    We inherited many garden stone walls with our house, crumbling with dislodged stones as ivy over decades had worked its way through the soft mortar and prised apart the stones. We hard the walls rebuilt and the stonemason said that ivy was his best friend as he got so much work from repairing walls damaged by the plant. So best avoided.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2021
    From a green perspective, ivy makes a great wildlife habitat and a source of food in the autumn. A third of our trees have some degree of ivy on them and theres bird nests in most of those☺
    But too much ivy on trees can be dangerous for the tree because ivy as an evergreen puts a lot more wind load from winter storms than the tree with no leaves and so makes the tree more liable to storm damage (or more liable to fall over)
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2021
    Definitely need to keep it in check on larger/higher trees. We cut ours back to half the trees height every 5 years or so to keep the windage down.
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