In response to numerous questions from architects and engineers (who are generally wary of specifying or managing biological systems), this brief list was prepared by me in 1989.
Fortunately times change, and building designs and fit-outs are focussed on building occupant health and WELLness.
Due recognition is being given to the benefits of living green plants in the workplace, currently described as Biophilia.
Doing what they have always done, living green plants contribute to a better indoor environment in a number of ways.
- Reduce concentrations of indoor air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) : they stabilise relative humidity; attract and hold particulate matter; contribute to oxygen/carbon dioxide (O2/CO2) exchange;
- Even where low emission or no emission materials such as paints are used, plants provide ‘air polishing;’
- Are cost effective air filters in conjunction with building air conditioning filter systems;
- Offer flexibility of location and relocation according to needs;
- Are environmentally sound;
- Have aesthetic appeal to building occupants, contributing to productivity;
- Represent a solution that could be readily developed and refined for each application;
- Do not interfere with any existing air distribution systems or patterns in a room;
- Professionally supplied and maintained, retain their effectiveness over time with comparatively low maintained costs;
- Offer flexible routine maintenance, i.e. the frequency is not absolutely critical;
- Help create an harmonious effect on staff morale, and thus increase motivation;
- Can help form attractive and acceptable visual breaks and barriers in open plan offices;
- Do not produce acoustic problems; but contribute to noise absorption;
- Reduce glare and eye strain by reflecting in the yellow-green band, which is most receptive and soothing to the human eye;
- Installation does not entail alteration to the fabric of a building;
- Provides a means for discrete implementation of a solution to an environmental problem;
- Entails relatively minor capital and running costs;
- Involve only a very remote chance of a sudden breakdown or failure of operation.
What’s not to like about living green plants in the workplace?