It is not unusual for us to spend 90 per cent of our time indoors, and in here, air is five to 10 times more polluted than the air outside. With polluted air comes a myriad of health risks, not to mention fatigue and difficulties with concentration. This is why it is vitally important to improve indoor air with plants.
Some of the main offenders when it comes to indoor air pollution are harmful VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds. These can come from manmade products commonly found indoors, such as paint, solvents, carpets and upholstery.
It seems, obvious, then, that we need to think more seriously about how we can improve our indoor air. New buildings are often designed with sophisticated air ventilation systems to create cleaner air, but new research is looking into how plants can play a similar role.
Climate architect Marius Ballieux is currently conducting a study into how effective plants can be at absorbing VOCs and specifically, how many, and what species of, plants are needed to clean the air most effectively.
Ballieux is already discovering that simply placing plants in a room is not enough to ensure we are removing toxins effectively from the air.
For starters, a certain number of plants is needed, as well as a certain amount of air movement. What’s more, plants work better at absorbing toxins on different days. They are not consistent.
This study will take the world of interior landscaping to a new level of design, helping to create beautiful environments and to provide clean air indoors effectively and efficiently.
Why Have Plants?
People have always intuitively sensed that contact with plants and nature is a calming restorative tonic for body and soul.
Over the past 25 plus years, academics and scientists have researched houseplants to establish exactly why and how they are good for us, our home, our schools, our hospitals, our businesses and our environment as a whole and in doing so, they have established that plants:
- Improve air quality and humidity levels;
- Reduce stress;
- Make people calmer and happier;
- Reduce workplace negativity;
- Reduce symptoms of discomfort and minor ailments;
- Reduce absenteeism;
- Speed up recovery from illness;
- Improve concentration, productivity and creativity;
- Save energy;
- Absorb noise;
- Increase shopper stay-time by half an hour when using in shopping malls.