The world of Indoor Air Quality is a hotbed of contested topics as it turns out.
What’s hard to dispute is lots of toxic chemicals end up in the air of our buildings:
What is up for debate apparently is if plants actually do clean the indoor air.
I have touted studies that seem to prove they do.
There are however people who point to many of those same studies, by NASA in the 80’s, as well as others, and declare:
They are not applicable to real world situations!
Their basic argument against houseplants cleaning the air is that the experiments have all been done in a vacuum, or sealed area. The same plants used in actual buildings apparently have little to no effect on the cleanliness of the air – so the authors say. The air quality of our modern buildings is by and large a product of the quality of the HVAC systems they have installed and maintained. Fair enough. And the majority of the air cleaning that was thought to be done by plants and proven in the NASA et al experiments is actually being done by the plants’ roots – of which very little air in legacy plant containers is allowed to pass through that area thereby reducing even further the effectiveness of the plants to clean the air in actual buildings.
A rebuttal to that argument is to move the air in our buildings through the root systems of plants. Of course! These guys have written a nice counter-perspective to the buildingecology.com guys and created just such a product where they use fans and hydroponic methods to pass air directly over the roots of the plants in their system to clean the air inside buildings.
I think that the Nedlaw products and others are heading in a fantastic direction and over the course of the next few years surely more of these types of products will be seen in our hotels, offices and homes. In the meantime, should we wait for these products to magically appear in our offices, hotels and homes “sometime” in the near future? No, a better choice is to start with a small indoor planter and then go from there. We don’t have to become botanists to understand that having plants like this one is good for a lot of things:
The nature therapy alone is worth it!