It won’t come as a surprise that we’re big fans of plants. After all, they’re the focus of our day-to-day work at Hydroplant. But in actual fact, we all have a good reason to be thankful to the living greenery around us, because its air-purifying capabilities are quite remarkable – and valuable, to boot.
Have you heard the term “indoor generation” being bandied around? The fact is that these days Swiss people are spending around 90% of their time indoors, as has been borne out by several studies. It’s common knowledge that the lifestyle here in Switzerland isn’t overly geared towards the outdoors, but that statistic is astounding nonetheless, not to mention a little alarming. And it means that the quality of our indoor spaces is all the more important.
Having a healthy indoor climate is absolutely essential. According to a study by the renowned Aarhus University in Denmark, air indoors can be up to five times more contaminated with pollutants than it is outdoors. And that takes its toll on our health. In specific terms, poor indoor air can irritate our eyes and bronchial tubes and trigger allergies. Neurological symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and lapses in concentration are also commonplace. Scientists have observed that people with office jobs often feel ill after a long day at work. Symptoms disappear of their own accord as soon as those affected are no longer in the office or building. You may have heard talk of “sick building syndrome”. It is suspected that this may be due to factors such as an increased concentration of pollutants indoors.
So where does Hydroplant come in? Well, it’s simple: we ensure clean air and a healthy climate in office spaces. After all, plants demonstrably improve the quality of indoor air. They absorb fine particulates and large amounts of carbon dioxide, which they convert into oxygen and sugar. In addition, certain plants are capable of lowering harmful concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) within the air. These are emitted by things like electrical appliances and furniture. The humble spider plant (Chlorophytum Comosum) reduces carbon monoxide, while the Philodendron lowers formaldehyde levels in the air.
A mere glance at the specific research is enough to grasp the incredible potential of plants in this area. As part of an Australian study, for instance, Zanzibar gems (Zamioculcas) and Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema) were introduced to a 50 m2 office. They managed to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide within the indoor air by up to 25%. The results of a study conducted in the USA were even more remarkable: placing Dracaena and peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) in a 52.5 m2 school classroom brought the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air down by up to 45%. The extent to which pollutants can be broken down by plants depends on a number of factors. The type and number of plants used is important, but the temperature and level of natural light within the space also matter greatly.
Plants not only make the air cleaner, but also have a humidifying effect. An office with indoor plants can have up to 5% higher humidity, depending on the type of plant and the watering regime. This can prove a real blessing for the health of employees. When air humidity is low, the sensitive mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat dry out, often causing dry coughs, conjunctivitis and eczema. Dry air also helps viruses to spread. The drier the air, the more dust particles there are whizzing around in it. These act as carriers for pathogens and make their way into our bodies with every breath we take.
There’s no doubt about it: plants are true all-rounders. They’re pleasing to the eye and bring a burst of life into any room. At the same time, they purify and humidify the air, all perfectly naturally. And their unique abilities make our day-to-day lives healthier and more pleasant. The bottom line is that they offer enormous added value to us and our lives – now more so than ever, with the rise of the “indoor generation”.