Indoor plants as air filters

Indoor plants not only look great, they can also help clear your house of common environmental pollutants.

Using indoor plants to clear the air

There’s nothing quite like the scent of forest air – the real thing, not an air freshener :).

While some of that lovely earthy scent is due to decomposition, the trees and plants of a forest are constantly circulating oxygen and carbon dioxide, unlike in the midst of a concrete jungle when the air we breathe can get somewhat stale or downright poisonous.

Our homes aren’t an oasis from our toxic modern environment either. The inside of our houses can have very poor air quality due to fumes from cigarette smoke, furnishings, paint and other items. Some items can give off these fumes for many years – that smell of fresh paint and new carpets isn’t just potentially harmful just while you can detect it.

The airborne chemical cocktail inside our home often includes:

benzene – used in oils, paints, plastic, rubber
trichloroethylene (TCE) – paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives
formaldehyde – foam, clothing, particle board, carpets.

All of the above have been shown to be potent environmental pollutants and likely carcinogens in humans.

New homes can be particularly bad for formaldehyde – it might be at many times the generally considered safe level for quite some time. Office air can also be saturated by a fog of toxins due to the type of furnishings and floor coverings often used on commercial premises.

Keeping indoor plants not only adds a nice green touch to our homes; some indoor plant species have proven to be effective filters for pollutants such as the above and carbon monoxide (an element of car exhaust).

A while back, I came across a couple of very interesting studies by NASA carried out in the late 80’s and early 90’s that included information on the plants NASA found useful as indoor air filters to combat these chemicals.

Beneficial plants include (scientific name followed by common) :

Aloe vera
Aglaonema Modestum – Chinese Evergreen
Chamaedorea Seifritzii – Bamboo Palm
Chlorophytum elatum – Green Spider Plant
Chrysanthemum morifolium – Pot Mum/Florists’ Chrysanthemum
Dracaena Janet Craig – Janet Craig
Dracaena Marginata – Marginata
Dracaena Massangeana – Mass cane/Corn Plant
Dracaena Warneckii – Warneckii
Gerbera Jamesonii – Gerbera Daisy/African daisy
Hedera Helix – English Ivy/Common Ivy
Philodendron Domesticum – Elephant Ear Philodendron
Philodendron Oxycardium – Heart Leaf Philodendron
Philodendron Selloum – Lacy Tree Philodendron
Sansevieria Laurentii – Mother in law’s tongue
Scindapsus aureus – Golden Pothos
Spathiphyllum Mauna Loa – Peace Lily/Mauna Loa

Some of the above are more effective than others at filtering particular chemicals, so if you’d like to learn more about the NASA research, here’s the study:

Interior Landscape Plants For Indoor Air Pollution Abatement (PDF 1.7 megabytes)

Indoor plants don’t just look great – they can help make your house or office a more healthy place to live and work in!

 

• Source: http://www.greenlivingtips.com

Milan’s Vertical Forest

Sustainable Design

bosco-verticale-1

The Bosco Verticale in Milan is taking green roofs to another level by planting trees along the sides of the skyscraper.  After completion it will be the greenest building in Milan, one of Europe’s most polluted cities.  The trees will provide a microclimate to filter out pollution dust particles, absorb CO2, produce oxygen, moderates temperatures, lowers new pollution, and lowers energy needed for heating and cooling.  Click here to view more pictures.

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How to Start Your Own Herb Garden

Activist Awake

Di-Di Hoffman | Timeless Herb Secrets

The rewards of growing herbs are far greater than with other plants.

Other plants in the garden are mostly planted for their decorative value.

Herbs, on the other hand, can also be used for a myriad of other purposes that stretch from flavouring your food to curing your flu to ridding your home of insects.

Herbs are some of the easiest, most grateful plants to grow. If you follow the following basic guidelines for setting up your own herb garden, they will richly reward you with their flavours and aromas.

Herb Garden Location

The ideal site for a herb garden is a sunny, open but sheltered spot with well-drained fertile soil. As far as possible it should be free from weeds and overhanging trees and have good access to the house so that the herbs can be harvested in all weathers.

Most of the…

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3rdculturechildren

Wordle: herbsI’ve been asked to provide updates on our Hanging Garden Project. We’ve got new planters, ‘freshly donated seeds’… and a cost-free watering system. For the ones not (yet!) familiar with the ‘mathematics behind getting cost-free water‘, here’s how it works: Our middle/high school students have been deeply involved in building a system with planters made from recycled PET bottles, as seen on the right.

Besides that, we’ve discovered a great source of clean/distilled water for all the watering needs: the several air conditioning devices, spread throughout the school campus. So, the students began collecting the not-before-managed water… But, how could they find out how much water would be “released” by the AC devices?


The answer to that question morphed into a mini-mathematical project: Math students were asked to develop a strategy to evaluate the volume of water released by the AC equipments, write their assumptions down…

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Creative Gardening

mokshafrika

I found some lovely creative gardening ideas for those of us who live in apartments and have limited space for a garden. Succulents are fantastic little plants as they require minimal watering and space, and are eco friendly! The other great idea is vertical gardening – creating a shelved area for your little green guys  that won’t take up too much space. Hanging gardens are also beautiful! I’ve credited the images with their DIY steps underneath where possible. Have a looksie 🙂

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Vertical Gardening

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Very clever idea for a living bath mat!

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Hanging Succulent garden

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Hee hee! Buddha shaped pears that are grown using a mould

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Teacup Garden

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Succulent planters using old bricks

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Framed Succulent garden

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Patio table with succulent centrepiece

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