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Green walls are found most often in urban environments where the plants reduce overall temperatures of the building. "The primary cause of heat build-up in cities insulation, the absorption of solar radiation by roads and buildings in the city and the storage of this heat in the building material and its subsequent re-radiation. Plant surfaces however, as a result of transpiration, do not rise more than 4–5 °C above the ambient and are sometimes cooler.
Living walls may also be a means for water reuse. The plants may purify slightly polluted water (such as grey water) by absorbing the dissolved nutrients. Bacteria mineralize the organic components to make them available to the plants.
Living walls are particularly suitable for cities, as they allow good use of available vertical surface areas. They are also suitable in arid areas, as the circulating water on a vertical wall is less likely to evaporate than in horizontal gardens.