Green Plant Benefits
In 1984, Harvard biologist Dr. Ed Wilson named our natural human affinity for nature, biophilia. Stephen R. Kellert, an advisor on prominent green building projects and professor of social ecology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental studies has spent much of his career thinking and writing about biophilia. Through his research and that of others, it has been found that direct exposure to natural elements can produce significant productivity gains, less absenteeism, less health problems, and a better sense of well-being among employees.
When plants transpire water vapor from their leaves, they pull air down around their roots. This supplies their root microbes with oxygen. The root microbes also convert other substances in the air, such as toxic chemicals, into a source of food and energy. Microbes, such as bacteria, can rapidly adapt to a chemical contaminant by producing new colonies that are resistant to the chemical. As a result, they become more effective at converting toxic chemicals into food the longer they are exposed to the chemicals.
Green walls, also known as vertical planting systems, vertical gardens, plant walls or vegetated walls have been successfully Implemented around the world over the past 15 years. Today, architects and design teams are specifying brilliant walls of live greenery with functions ranging from fully scrubbing the air to simply humanizing windowless and 'nature deficient' indoor spaces.
Occupant concentration and productivity are negatively effected when elevated levels of carbon dioxide are present indoors. Many busy humans within one well-sealed building can produce drowsy employees. However, during photosynthesis plants naturally extract carbon dioxide and exchange it with fresh oxygen.
In a recent study, participants working in an environment with plants present were 12 percent more productive and less stressed than those who worked in an environment without plants.
Interior plants and landscapes create situations more favorable for retail activity. When we shop in retail areas with "tree" versus "non-tree" environments we visit more frequently, stay longer, rate the quality of the products 30% higher and are willing to pay about 12% more for goods.
In an 8 month study, both women and men demonstrated more innovative thinking, generating more ideas and original solutions to problems in an office environment that included flowers and plants. In these surroundings, men who participated in the study generated 15% more ideas. And while males generated a greater abundance of ideas, females generated more creative, flexible solutions to problems when flowers and plants were present.
Real life office studies have proven the direct relationship between clinical health complaints and plant installations. Sick Building Syndrome is a serious and expensive issue, and the degree to which interior plants can positively affect employees’ health is an important issue in today’s workplace.