Greening the Great Indoors for Human Health and Well-Being

A three year project was undertaken by Horticulture Australia Limited (a not-for-profit industry organisation) to investigate the benefits of potted-plants on indoor air quality and the wellbeing of building occupants.

The project comprised laboratory trials of volatile organic compound (VOC) removal, an office study of minimum numbers of plants required to reduce VOCs and CO2 and a preliminary examination of whether plants could, undesirably, increase airborne mould spore loads and an investigation of the extent of effects of plants on psychological wellbeing of building occupants.

The laboratory trials confirmed the species tested have similar strong capacities to remove VOCs.  The office study recorded some VOC and CO2 reductions, but less marked than earlier office studies, probably because of greater efficiency of more modern air conditioning systems, and inadequate lighting. R&D is required to optimise plant contribution to CO2 removal, which is clearly achievable with more advanced horticultural technology. However, no significant effects of plants were found on mould counts or types. Indoor counts were very low down to about one twentieth of outdoor samples.

Highly significant reductions in negative mood states were found with plants, even one plant can make the difference.

The full report, released 15/02/2010, is available here.