The Cleansing Power of Office Plants

Press/Media: Press / Media

Description

Inside Climate News article:

Houseplants, including peace lilies, corn plants and ZZ plants, can significantly reduce pollutants in indoor environments, a new study found. In a small, poorly ventilated office, just five plants could reduce nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant that can cause respiratory problems, by as much as 20 percent, the study authors calculated. 

Researchers from the United Kingdom’s University of Birmingham and Royal Horticultural Society placed the three species of typical, inexpensive potted houseplants in a sealed chamber containing nitrogen dioxide in a volume typically found in a polluted urban indoor environment. They found that all three plants were able to significantly reduce nitrogen dioxide in their chambers during the hour-long experiment.

Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant emitted from gas-burning vehicles and can accumulate in buildings located near highways and heavily trafficked roads. 

“It’s a key pollutant, especially in urban environments,” said co-author Christian Pfrang, an associate professor in atmospheric science at Birmingham. “Since more and more people live in urban areas, it’s an important one.”

Pfrang said he and his team are not sure of the exact mechanism by which plants are able to remove nitrogen dioxide from the air and further research is needed to figure that out. 

“There clearly are conditions where a simple potted plant can contribute to good air quality indoors,” said Pfrang. “And it’s certainly something that adds to the other services that indoor plants can do; they look nice and they have other other benefits. So I think it’s a very low tech approach.”

Period19 Mar 2022

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleThe Cleansing Power of Office Plants
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletInside Climate News
    Media typeWeb
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    Date19/03/22
    DescriptionHouseplants, including peace lilies, corn plants and ZZ plants, can significantly reduce pollutants in indoor environments, a new study found. In a small, poorly ventilated office, just five plants could reduce nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant that can cause respiratory problems, by as much as 20 percent, the study authors calculated.

    Researchers from the United Kingdom’s University of Birmingham and Royal Horticultural Society placed the three species of typical, inexpensive potted houseplants in a sealed chamber containing nitrogen dioxide in a volume typically found in a polluted urban indoor environment. They found that all three plants were able to significantly reduce nitrogen dioxide in their chambers during the hour-long experiment.

    Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant emitted from gas-burning vehicles and can accumulate in buildings located near highways and heavily trafficked roads.

    “It’s a key pollutant, especially in urban environments,” said co-author Christian Pfrang, an associate professor in atmospheric science at Birmingham. “Since more and more people live in urban areas, it’s an important one.”

    Pfrang said he and his team are not sure of the exact mechanism by which plants are able to remove nitrogen dioxide from the air and further research is needed to figure that out.

    “There clearly are conditions where a simple potted plant can contribute to good air quality indoors,” said Pfrang. “And it’s certainly something that adds to the other services that indoor plants can do; they look nice and they have other other benefits. So I think it’s a very low tech approach.”
    Producer/AuthorKatelyn Weisbrod
    PersonsChristian Pfrang