Using Plants to Naturally Improve Indoor Environmental Quality

Green Building

Using Plants to Naturally Improve Indoor Environmental Quality

Indoor environmental quality is typically the beginning and end of any holistic discussion about “green” building interiors. Human health is paramount and, generally speaking, both designers and clients understand that many building materials off-gas toxic compounds.

Indeed, that “new building” smell we’ve all become conditioned to associate with a fresh, new facility is actually your body’s sensory response to the intake of toxic microscopic particulates.

Common toxins found in building interiors include:

  • Trichloroethylene – typically found in varnishes, paints, and inks.
  • Formaldehyde – a very common compound found in particle board, carpet, and some furniture.
  • Benzene – which is often present in detergents, plastics, and synthetic fibers.

While LEED has taught us that a whole building flush-out prior to occupancy can effectively reduce the levels of indoor environmental pollutants from new materials, a certain degree of off-gassing persists for quite some time after an interior has been occupied. Moreover, our interiors often exhibit indoor environmental pollution sources such as the equipment and materials found in print rooms, storage closets, art rooms, and laundry areas.

Infographic illustrating how specific plants are adept to removing certain indoor environmental pollutants.

Photos and graphics: © Thomas Porostocky. Used by permission.

Enlarged plant key.

Photos and graphics: © Thomas Porostocky. Used by permission.

To address these persistent indoor pollutants that slowly permeate an environment over time, some designers are turning to plants.

Read more…

Originally published in the blog of IDO Incorporated on October 8, 2012.

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