|via my Flickr :)|
Welcome to another Research Finding Friday (RFF).
This week, I would like to share an article about how foliage plants affect indoor air quality. On some level, we all know this to be true. But it's nice to reinforce our gut feelings with some concrete evidence. The intention of sharing this article is to remind us that plants/nature is important to indoor spaces and therefore to interior design schemes as well.
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Lohr, V, I. and Pearson-Mims, C, H. (1995). Particulate Matter Accumulation on Horizontal Surfaces in Interiors: Influence of Foliage Plants. Atmospheric Environment, 30(14), p.2565-2568.
The researchers felt that there was a lot of information out there about how outdoor vegetation improves the air quality of that environment. However, not enough research existed to examine whether that was also true for indoor environments. More specifically, they wanted to know if plants would affect particulate matter accumulation in indoor spaces. Particulate matter is a mixture of solid and liquid particles found in the air, the most common being dust, dirt, soot and smoke. The danger of this type of pollution is that the particles are easily inhaled and can cause respiratory and other health related problems. If plants could help reduce this accumulation then they could conclude that plants are a benefit to the air quality and inhabitants of interior spaces.
What did they do? They added and removed low-light tolerant foliage plants* from two different indoor environments (a single office space and a computer lab). They measured the particulate matter accumulation on horizontal surfaces via collection dishes placed around the rooms (12 for each space). They compared results between the two conditions (with or without plants).
The results showed that particulate matter accumulation in rooms with plants was significantly lower than in rooms without plants. They also found that humidity was higher in rooms with plants but only by a very small difference.
*Aglaonema sp., Chamaedorea seifrizii, Dracaena marginata, Epipremnum aureum, and Spathiphyllum sp.
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"Nature doesn't need Us, but We need Nature". I read that somewhere, but can't remember where. Anyhow, clearly, it stuck with me. It's a humbling and profound statement. It puts things in perspective. As a lover of the city, I'm sometimes not as close to nature as I should be. I realize that now since I have been living for a few weeks on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Northern Germany. Nothing but trees and fields and big birds and deer. Life is much slower here. It's a nice change of pace - even though it would not be my ideal permanent location.
So when I came across this article today, I thought to myself, even though I'm quite gifted at killing plants, I should try harder. I should have more plants in my apartment. My connection to nature and my indoor air quality would both benefit. It seems I may even be able to dust less often! I just have to put more love into it. Because, if there is a place where we can benefit from the goodness of nature, it's in the city.
Do you have plants in your home or office? What's the main reason you keep plants? Do you get along with them? Do you find they enhance your interior scheme?
Happy weekend to you all.