“Just living is not enough… One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” : Hans Christian Andersen
Plants are nature’s eco-friendly living air purifiers with scientific evidence to back this up. So plants should be part of your #healthyhousedesign. Why?
Plants re-balance the carbon / oxygen mix
Modern construction techniques are making homes increasingly airtight so it is increasingly important to manage the quality of the air inside the home.
Plants “breathe” in carbon dioxide breath out oxygen which helps balance what the human occupants do.
Plants Absorb Pollutants
Some plants, and the earth in which they grow, have an extraordinary capacity to absorb some of the pollutant gases which we produce in our modern lifestyles.
For example the spider plant cleans the air in your house of benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene. These are all common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are emitted into the air in our homes by everyday items such as furniture, carpets, household appliances, adhesives, clothing, and solvents, and are known to degrade our health and well-being.
Transpiration is the process by which plants emit moisture into the air. This sets up convection currents that transport pollutants to the root zone. Root microbes biodegrade the pollutants into structures that can be used as a source of food for the microbes and the plant.
Plants need to be coordinated with the humidity conditions. They can help to moderate the humidity.
These benefits complement the obvious aesthetic advantages of a well-designed garden, making the indoor garden an attractive residential feature on several fronts.
Studies have shown that having plants in the home, or the workplace, have a positive effect on the occupants, helping to reduce stress and fatigue and enhance productivity.
Plants help to increase our levels of positivity and make us feel more secure and relaxed. They can also help with loneliness and depression. Caring for a living thing gives us a purpose and is rewarding, especially when a plant you have been lovingly caring for bursts into bloom. Choose easy-to-care-for plants such as African violets (Saintpaulia). They bloom all year round with little effort.
They also increase subjective perceptions of concentration and satisfaction, as well as objective measures of productivity.
Indoor gardens may even reduce energy use and costs because of the reduced need for air circulation.
Plants and Humidity
Many house plants come from tropical or subtropical environments and prefer humid conditions. Many like a relative humidity of over 50% and this is uncomfortable for the human occupants who find this environment stuffy and too hot. For many homes 40-50% humidity or lower is more comfortable. Independently of the temperature the higher the humidity the hotter you feel and this is partly because the relative humidity of the air affects your ability to perspire and perspiring is how we regulate our body temperature.
Plants themselves increase the humidity levels in your home through transpiration. So in the winter, when you might want your home to feel warmer having lots of plants is a good thing. You may even want to take extra steps to increase the humidity in the air for your own comfort as well as the plants.
Beware of the danger of condensation if you do this. Condensation occurs when humid air meets cold surfaces such as windows. So a lot depends on the specification of your windows, ventilation, and many other variables.
In the summer, depending on the humidity levels in the air in your home, you may be looking to reduce the relative humidity in the air to improve your comfort. There are a few ways to look after your subtropical house plants under these conditions such as having them in trays of water so the micro climate around them is more humid or by misting them.
Choose plants that match the humidity environment they will be living in.