How Can Plants Help To Improve Air Quality In Offices?

Plants can improve air quality

It can be hard to fully appreciate the beauty and benefits that nature offers when you’re stuck inside an office for hours every day. But it’s incredibly simple to bring some greenery inside to you, allowing you and your colleagues to experience some of the benefits that nature can provide without having to leave your desk.

One of those benefits is that plants have been proven to improve the air quality inside buildings. Workspaces are often renowned for poor ventilation as they usually have to rely on air conditioning to push air throughout an entire building. This can mean that if there is anything unsanitary or unhealthy in the ventilation it will be pushed out to the entire building, potentially causing illness.

Most items in a workplace are not made from natural furnishings such as wood but are instead often made of synthetic compositions such as plastic, vinyl, particle boards and more. Even the lighting we experience is artificial for the vast majority of the time, unless you happen to work in a building made entirely of glass!

Offices Can Be Filled With Chemicals

According to an article on The Conversation, a chemical compound that is often produced by synthetic office furnishings such as cabinets, furniture and more is formaldehyde. This is bad news for office workers across the United Kingdom as if a lot if breathed in, it can cause symptoms such as sore throats, coughs, scratchy eyes and even nosebleeds.

For those who are more sensitive than others, the symptoms can be exacerbated, resulting in working being particularly uncomfortable. Other harmful chemicals that office workers can potentially be exposed to in the workplace are xylene, benzene, toluene and more.

As well as this, there can often be an increased amount of carbon dioxide levels found in workplaces. This can be understandable as often there are many people who are breathing together in a close area with minimal ventilation, leading to a stagnant air that often feels stuffy. You only have to spend longer than an hour on a plane to understand the annoyance of this!

Adding Plants Can Improve Air Quality

It may be simple for people to simply think that air quality can be improved by simply opening the windows in the office. This can help to bring in some fresh air, as well as improve the circulation of air, but it can often be impractical.

For many workplaces, opening the windows can often throw the air conditioning and temperature out of sync which can result in the organisation spending more money. This is particularly true in the extremes of winter and summer as the system will have to work harder to regulate temperature.

People sat next to windows may be unwilling to suffer through the brisk, cold air of winter as well, which can in turn have even more negative health benefits.

The good news for workers is that there is a simple, and cheap, solution that not only can improve air quality but also improve the aesthetic of a workplace. Indoor plants can be found in a variety of types to suit any workplace and they often require very minimal care.

Plants have been proven to improve the quality of air as well, often making them a cheaper alternative to expensive products that are designed to do this as well. A study by NASA looked into whether plants could be used to help reduce indoor air pollutants, originally designed to look into making air sustainable in a space station.

The study used benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde as the chemicals to try and eliminate. What NASA found was that houseplants that require low light were successful in improving the air quality. Some plants performed better than others including snake plants, bamboo, peace lilies and varieties of Dracaena, so why not consider investing in some plants for your workplace to not only improve how your office looks but the health of employees as well?

A quick clean of a desk can provide plenty of space to hold a small plant, allowing individual benefits for employees along with larger plants for the general floor. For more benefits that plants can offer, take a look at our article from 2016 where we discuss some of the other benefits that are available.

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Sarah Jubb

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