Can plants be considered a building service?

C. Gubb, T. Blanusa, A. Griffiths, C. Pfrang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Plants are utilised in many forms within indoor environments, from simple houseplants to complex and species-rich green walls. Plants offer multi-faceted services indoors including pollutant removal and reductions in building energy consumption. This review firstly identifies – by critical assessment of the literature – pollutants which are currently measured at harmful concentrations indoors – classifying them as ‘2019’s priority pollutants’ and providing thorough health assessments of each. Secondly, the authors present which indoor plants have been shown to effectively remove ‘2019’s priority pollutants’ and direct future research onto any that have not been investigated. Thirdly, the authors consolidate the current research presenting why plants should be considered a building service. Practical application : Plants are commonly used inside indoor environments. However, the benefits they bring are often overstated. This review paper looks to consolidate the current academic research on the various services plants can provide indoors including pollutant removal and relative humidity regulation. The authors hope that the paper can be used to inform and educate building service engineers and alike on the current state of play concerning indoor plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-384
Number of pages11
JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Building service
  • indoor air quality
  • indoor plants
  • pollutants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction


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