If a single design element could do all these things, would you incorporate it into your next project?
• Improve indoor air quality
• Lead to increased concentration and improved memory tasks
• Hasten recovery and lessen the need for pain medication
• Increase productivity
• Reduce minor ailments connected with Sick Building Syndrome
Research has shown that access to nature helps reduce stress, increase orientation and improve medical outcomes. Appropriately-sited windows, convenient exterior access, and well-designed outdoor living spaces bring us close to nature. In addition to helping increase productivity, a windowed office space is environmentally-friendly. Daylighting saves money and energy by reducing electrical lighting and cooling loads.
If given their druthers, most designers would add more windows to their interiors. What if your project doesn’t have the budget to accommodate more fenestration or your structurally-constrained space is a windowless basement? The solution is to bring nature in through live foliage. Indoor plants brighten a space, bringing life to every interior.
Indoor plants are now being used to restore psychological balance and solve environmental problems. Designers are incorporating nature settings in healthcare, educational and civic projects to capitalize on their healing properties. Nedlaw Living Walls installs large-scale green walls of live plants in cancer treatment facilities, hospitals, churches, universities and corporate offices.
Indoor plants act as natural filters and air cleaners. The Bertschi School in Seattle collects greywater from sinks and filters it through their indoor green wall to use for irrigation, helping them earn Living Building Challenge certification. Results from a NASA study found that common houseplants absorb harmful gases and remove toxic pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene.
For apartment dwellers with no acreage, growing culinary herbs indoors can perfume the home and inspire healthier, home-cooked meals. The U.S. Green Building Council maintains a lush herb garden in the kitchen of their Washington, DC headquarters where employees are encouraged to snip fresh herbs to spice up their lunch. Find out which herbs are best suited for an indoor garden through Horticulture magazine, here.
The week of July 8 – 12, is being recognized as National Plants at Work week in the United Kingdom, an initiative of the European Federation of Interior Landscape Groups who represent the interior landscaping industry in the U.K.