Indoor Air Quality is an important topic! At times, there was a distinct industrial-like odor wafting through some parts of the building.
With our increased and continued interest in indoor air quality, and building and designing healthy living spaces, we knew we had to do something to address this problem. We know how important good indoor air quality is, both at home and at the workplace.
Immediately, we brought in a certified indoor air quality specialist named Sam Cohen of Enviro Test Laboratories who tested our air quality and checked surfaces and materials for off-gasing. To our surprise, Sam did not find anything to be concerned with and said that the best solution for our case would be to just open a window now and again. The smell soon dissipated and we haven’t noticed it since.
End of story right?
Even though the issue has subsided, this got me thinking. Besides opening a window once in a while, how can we improve our indoor air quality in the office simply and effectively?
Believe it or not, the answer is with common house plants.
Forget buying fancy air purifiers that can cost hundreds of dollars. According to Mother Nature Network, a study was conducted a few decades back by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America to figure out how to purify air in space facilities. Their findings showed that several plants can actually remove several harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from their surroundings–and not just in space–but on earth as well. Unbelievably, indoor air is typically more polluted than our outdoor air, which can make us sick. (See Nancy’s latest blog for more on this subject.)
A quick internet search can point you in the right direction as to what plants to buy, but here are some plants that you can pick up at your local garden center to improve your indoor air quality, and also, your quality of life.
Peace Lily: This little beauty requires little sunlight (perfect for the “cube farm”) and removes the VOCs benzene and acetone from the air–just to name a few!
Chrysanthemums: Not only will these add a pop of color to your office, but chrysanthemums are one of the best known plants for purifying the air.
English Ivy: Suffering with allergies? English Ivy is recommended for moving indoor allergens from the air including mold spores and dust mites. As a bonus, English Ivies thrive indoors.
Even my favorite flower (below) made the list!
Gerbera Daisies: These cheerful flowers can bloom all year round if given enough care and sunlight. They remove trichloroethylene (a big one on the VOC world) and benzene while giving off fresh oxygen for us to happily take in!
This list is just the tip of the iceberg–there are dozens of plants that improve indoor air quality. In fact, any plant is usually better than nothing, as plants take in carbon dioxide and release fresh oxygen that humans can appreciate. They not only beautify a space, but they multitask as little pretty air purifiers–and sometimes even smell good, too!
I urge you get out there and go buy one of the above plants, or another of the dozens proven to improve IAQ, for your office AND your home today. Leave me a comment of what plants you chose!