The Benefits of Plants - collected from various sources

Study finds that plants Increase Productivity, Reduce Stress and Improve Morale

It is widely known through the respected research done by Dr. Roger S. Ulrich of foxes A&M University, Helen Russell, Surrey University, England as well as the recent studies conducted by Dr. Virginia Lohr of Washington State University that plantssignificantly lower workplace stress and enhance productivity.
In Dr. Lohr's study participants were 12 percent more productive and less stressed than those who worked in an environment with no plants. The study took place in a simulated office setting. Emotional states and pulses were also measured during the experiment. In addition to demonstrating significant increases in their post-task attentiveness, subject reaction time in the presence of plants was 12 percent faster than those in the absence of plants. The results indicating an influence of plants on blood pressure are consistent with research conducted by Dr. Ulrich. Visual exposure to plant settings has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes. Another study out of Washington State University (Lohr and Pearson-Mims) verifies that once exposed to plant settings, test persons demonstrated more positive emotions such as happiness, friendliness and assertiveness and less negative emotions such as sadness and fear.
For More Information See: Virginia Lohr Studies- OR; David Uzzell study from Oxford University
Plants Improve Air Quality and Reduce Absenteeism

According to studies done by JCAHO, IAQ (indoor air quality) related absenteeism has been on an alarming upswing. In recent studies 40% of absenteeism was attributed to IAQ related illnesses. Similarly, the same report demonstrates an increase of Worker Compensation Claims from 1980 to 1994 for IAQ related issues. The number of such cases rose by almost 5000 claims within that period and has continued to rise over the last five years. Data from Bio-Safe Incorporated confirms that without the air filtering provided by live plants, energy efficient, sealed office structures are often 10 times more polluted than the air outside.

Research shows that plant-filled rooms contain 50-60 percent fewer disease causing airborne molds and bacteria than rooms without plants. For almost twenty years Dr. Billy C.Wolverton and his aids in the Environmental Research Laboratory of John C. Stennis Space Center have been conducting innovative research employing natural biological processes for air purification. "We've found that plants have been found to suck these chemicals out of the air," he says. "After some study, we've unraveled the mystery of how plants can act as the lungs and kidneys of these buildings." The plants clean contaminated office air in two ways. They absorb office pollutants into their leaves and transmit the toxins to their roots, where they are transformed into a source of food for the plant.

Wolverton has found that plants are especially needed in office buildings in which sick building syndrome is common. He goes so far as to suggest that everyone have a plant on his or her desk, within what he calls the "personal breathing zone." This is an area of six to eight cubic feet where you spend most of your working day. Jay Naar, author of Design for A Livable Planet, suggests 15 to 20 plants are enough to clean the air in a 1,500 square foot area.

For More Information See: John C. Stennis Space Center -technical reports- (Keyword: Wolverton) & Additional Information on Bill Wolverton: SPINOFF, By James Haggerty-National Aeronautics & Space Administration. Aug,1989. Pp. 72-75; Bio-Safe Incorporated-, JCAHO- see study titled: Guide to IAQ in Healthcare Organizations

Reduce O& M Costs

Plants cool by a process called transpiration, which, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, decreases air temperature in offices by ten degrees. A recent study out of Washington State University demonstrates that plant transpiration in office environment releases moisture, creating a humidity level exactly matching the recommended human comfort range of 30-60 percent. Similarly, the same study concludes that in an absence of plants, the relative humidity in offices runs below this recommended range. When the relative humidity of office air is too low, costly materials such as wood become damaged and crack. When the relative humidity is too high the condensation of windows and exterior walls can result in costly structural damage.

According to the International Society of Arboricultural, the net cooling effect of one young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. According to literature from the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, proper selection and placement of plant materials can lower heating and cooling costs by as much as 20%. These statistics have become an important tool for today's environmentally efficient corporate designers and facility managers such as U.S. Energy Systems Inc. This growing energy company is enthusiastically endorsing the use of indoor plants. Susan Odiseos, V.P. of Corporate Communications states "We practice what we preach and find that our investment in interior plant services has had the expected outcome of improving indoor air quality, supporting a positive outlook in the workplace and increasing employee productivity." She continued "interior plants are a solid return on investment and a MUST for any corporation concerned with sustainable, 'green building' solutions."

View Top Ten Pollution Reducing Plants


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