How many plants do you have in your environment, at home, at school, at work? If you have some close by, for example at your desk or in a corner of the room, you might have noticed how nice it is to have a plant nearby. Unfortunately, there are many places, such as offices, schools and shops, that are lacking plants, and that’s a shame!
Several studies have been conducted regarding the usefulness of plants in the environment, especially in offices. Extensive research has been made on which plants contribute to improved air quality (NASA, 1989). Plants and microorganisms in the potting soil can, among other things, clean the air, provide oxygen, and extract various toxins from the air. In addition, the appearance of plants can contribute to a better environment to live and work in, and a more relaxed mood.
Through light and photosynthesis, the plant converts CO2 (carbon dioxide) and H2O (water) into sugars, which the plant uses as nutrition at night when there’s no sunlight. The waste left in this process from the water molecule is our precious oxygen! At night, these plants repel CO2 to a limited extent. There are also plants that conduct this process reversed, such as the sansevieria. That’s why it’s a good idea to place it in your bedroom, because at night it will provide you with fresh oxygen.
Unfortunately, there are toxins in a lot of products around us, for example in furniture, carpeting, paint and printers. The 3 most known toxins are formaldehyde, trichlorethylene and benzene. These substances may irritate the skin and mucous membranes, cause headaches and asthma, and they are associated with an increased risk of cancer.
TNO investigated at several school, classes with and without plants, in order to research the benefits of plants in the classroom. In the classes with plants, after 16 weeks, 10-20% reduction of CO2 was measured, degradation of unwanted odors within 45 minutes at 0, 7% less health complaints, more creativity and on average more than 20% improvement in scores from tasks and tests.
At the office
TNO also did research on plants in the office, which showed that people who worked with a computer for more than 4 hours a day, felt less stressed, more alert and more at ease when there were plants in the workplace (2 plants per 12m3). In addition, the aforementioned improvement in air quality was found as well, as improvement in atmosphere and acoustics.
Take a plant
Not everybody has green fingers, but fortunately, it’s easy to enjoy a nice plant. Many houseplants are very easy to maintain and require little attention, and prefer rather less, than too much water. There’s quite a lot of research from renowned research institutes, that emphasize the beneficial effects of plants. So make sure to include plans at work and at home, to reduce your work stress and improve your performance. In the list of NASA you can find a plant that fits your environment. Watch out for poisonous plants if you have children and animals nearby.