The value in getting it right:

Wellness; Biophilia; Indoor Air Quality; Indoor Plants. It’s all coming together, with increasing recognition of the valuable role of plants in the need to create the ideal workplace.

Employees want their work environment to feel more like home and not just another soul-less office space.

In a recent global survey, office workers around the world headed their preference list for the ideal workplace with more natural light, followed closely by indoor plants.

(The Human Spaces Report. (2015)  Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace).

Some recent quotes by leading employers

“I am very keen to get plants into the tenancy, it is key element in our wellness portfolio as well as design.”

“It’s also experimenting with the use of plants to see how it will impact air quality within the building.”

Achieving these highly desirable goals requires careful planning, right from the initial design stage.

 Designing the workspace for people and plants has many elements in common, including that people and plants need light to function.

The one divergent element in current design is an understanding of the difference In light requirements.

This may be explained best by a little poem.

“Light might be white

To you and me,

But it isn’t the case for the average tree.

They’re inclined to see red

and into the blues,

So it’s not what you see

That the plants get to use

Brett Casben, 1992 Light for Life Symposium

Light is the major determining factor in successfully maintaining healthy plants indoors. However there is a major difference in the effects of light. We need light for vision. Plants need light for energy.

 

Lux levels are used to specify light for vision, that is the yellow/green part of the visible light spectrum), while PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) used to specify light for plants is the blue and red/far red part of the spectrum.

Plant lighting is generally a poorly resolved issue in many commercial buildings. Atrium plantings frequently fail to thrive due to incorrect light, and many indoor green walls have poorly designed lighting.

In our experience, correct plant lighting is generally not part of the design process, with lux levels being mistakenly used, with little or no knowledge of PAR lighting.

So if we arenʼt providing the light right for plants we are on the way to failure.

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