Article

Removal of Indoor Carbon Dioxide and Formaldehyde Using Green Walls by Bird Nest Fern

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Abstract

This paper presents an evaluation of the effectiveness of removing air pollutants by installing green vertical walls filled with potted plants. Most people in urban areas spend 80-90% of their lives indoors, indicating the significance of indoor air quality. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and formaldehyde (HCHO) are the most common sources of indoor pollution; their levels can be reduced by using potted plants, which provide the additional benefit of beautification. In accordance with our previous study, for this purpose, we used bird nest fern (Asplenium nidus Linn.), which has a high rate of transpiration and is easy to grow indoors. Upon using 3 treatments involving the release of CO2, HCHO, or CO2 + HCHO, the experimental results showed that bird nest fern can reduce the concentration of CO2 from 2000 ppm to a safe 800 ppm at an average of 1.984 ppm·h−1 (per pot). By contrast, the concentration of HCHO was reduced from 2 ppm to the safe level of 0.1 ppm, at an average of 0.003 ppm·h−1 (per pot). Regarding temperature and humidity, the results showed a decrease of 2°C indoors and an increase of 10% relative humidity. These results show that bird nest fern has high rates of CO2 and HCHO removal, reduces temperature, and raises relative humidity.

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... As water vapor diffuses into the atmosphere, air convection occurs, which cools the environment, purifies the air effectively, and improves air quality. Based on the Application and Management Manual for Purifying Indoor Air Using Plants published by the Environmental Protection Administration, Executive Yuan, Lin et al. [1] assessed the effect of photosynthesis on CO2 removal and provided appropriate technology an optimal plant layout for air purification. Here, the authors established various experimental conditions and discovered that bird nest ferns (Asplenium nidus Linn), which are indoor plants, underwent the most evapotranspiration-aiding indoor air flow improvement and indoor air purification. ...
... The results indicated that all three types of plants could remove CO 2 , and leaves with larger surface areas could aid the removal of even more CO 2 . Lin et al.[1] used indoor ...
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... Removal of Indoor carbon dioxide and formaldehyde using indoor plants had been studied by Su and Lin (2015). They indicated that CO 2 and formaldehyde (HCHO) are the most common sources of Indoor pollution; their levels can be reduced by using potted plants. ...
... (Figure 1). Because there are no similar studies, this study is somewhat consistent with what reported by Su and Lin (2015). ...
... The benefits of building greenery, taking vertical green systems and green roofs as common forms, can be divided into three categories: energy savings in terms of cooling and heating the building [26][27][28], carbon dioxide uptake by plants [28][29][30], and air cleaning ability of plants [31][32][33]. Other studies have performed comparative analyses of the economic sustainability of vertical green systems and green roofs [34,35], and have explored the life cycle cost (LCC) of building greenery using detailed first-hand data [13,36]. ...
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... There is a considerable amount of research on the ability of houseplants to remove indoor pollutants (21)(22)(23). Plants that have an air-cooling effect are preferred, because they have a high transpiration rate and are easy to grow indoors, such as Bird's nest fern (Asplenium nidus Linn.) (24) and ...
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... The definition of architecture puts a high priority on environmental quality for long-term use and with the aim of sustaining its use in a healthy and comfortable manner. Su & Lin, 2015) in any indoor indoor environment. In special cases, the time to stay indoors is getting longer during the COVID-19 pandemic. ...
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Decorative plants have developed into a strategic position in an effort to healthy indoor buildings, adding to their functions as decorations for the comfort of occupants. This overview of decorative plants aims to describe the determining factors in the relationship between plants, humans, phytoremediation, to produce sustainable healthy indoor quality. The literature searches and selection method used the Mendeley Reference Manager platform. The results were categorized as interactions between plant and human responses, and between plants and indoor environmental quality. In summary, decorative plants are able to make people of all ages and their activities healthy physically and mentally, and it is important to avoid toxic plants even though they look beautiful. The ability of plants has been proven to be able to improve the environmental quality of indoor pollutants, as a function of phytoremediation to make indoor healthy for sustainable use, although should avoid plants with negative effect properties. The status is convincing to make decorative plants an essential living element in indoor. Promotion strategies and implementation tactics are proposed, adapted to local conditions.
... Table 4 shows the relevant literature on indoor vertical greening to remove indoor pollutants. [111,112] Chlorophytum Comosum ...
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A vertical greening system is becoming increasingly crucial in resolving the energy crisis and environmental problems in a sustainable ecosystem. Researchers have conducted a comprehensive study on vertical greening systems from technology, functional and architectural perspectives. These include ecological, economic and social functions. Most of the current studies emphasize the benefits of vertical greening systems to the environment, while vertical greening technology and its socio-economic benefits receive insufficient attention. In order to study the vertical greening field in depth, this paper comprehensively and systematically summarizes vertical greening technology and functions. Meanwhile, based on the Web of Science (WOS), CiteSpace was used to analyze the relevant literature in the vertical greening field from 2012 to 2022, to explore the hot spots, development status and future trends of vertical greening technology, and to build a knowledge map in the vertical greening field. The research shows that as a low impact development technology, the vertical greening system has received the most extensive attention in the past few years. Air quality, microclimate regulation and energy have always been the focus and hot issues of people’s attention. The future research directions are cooling effect, active system and indoor space. This study is aimed at promoting the future development of vertical greening system technology and providing reference and direction for researchers, planners and developers, as well as individuals interested in future urban and rural planning.
... Indoor air quality impacts the health and work performance of people living inside buildings. Using ornamental plants in a building can help decrease CO2 (Su and Lin 2015, Torpy et al. 2016, Pettit et al. 2017. However, none of these studies focused on the light sensitivity capabilities of green walls in absorbing CO2. ...
Conference Paper
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... Many studies suggested that some kinds of plants are beneficial because they purify the air by absorbing or adsorbing gaseous pollutants and particulate matter and increasing RH. For example, the Peace lily can absorb CO 2 , Areca palm can absorb CO 2 , CO, and total VOCs, and Bird's-nest fern can absorb formaldehyde [43,[75][76][77]. Thus, IAQ can be improved. ...
Chapter
Indoor air pollutants in certain environments, such as a damp home or a low-ventilation office, are more concentrated indoors than outdoors. As people spend most of their time indoors, there is a high chance that they are exposed to indoor air pollution. This exposure might lead to adverse health outcomes such as allergies, infection, and respiratory diseases. Therefore, proper indoor environment management is crucial for promoting indoor air quality, consequently benefiting the health and well-being of occupants. In commercial spaces, a lot of people gather and perform various activities together, and higher concentrations of indoor air pollution are generated, which leads to accumulation of pollutants if proper management is not achieved, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when biological pollutants (i.e., viral particle) can accumulate indoors due to poor ventilation environment. In residential spaces, indoor air quality may worsen due to activities such as cooking, painting, using personal care products, and washing. These activities generate indoor air pollution, thus affecting the health of occupants. In addition, poor air quality in microenvironments apparently affects sleep quality. This chapter proposes a concept of indoor air quality management in commercial and residential spaces including sources and control. Moreover, the management technologies have been summarized varying from a simple technique that can be handled by the occupants to a more complicated technique that requires more equipment and professional skill. The methods provided here can benefit the occupants, especially the occupants living in limited-space residences, such as apartment buildings in urban areas.
... It is thought to be impractical to filter excess concentrations of CO 2 from a building efficiently only by potted plants, whilst a green wall technology manages to provide a better surface area in the wall for greater and denser occupancy of the plants to fulfil the criteria in that regard . Su and Lin in their study (Su and Lin, 2015) revealed that efficient amounts of CO 2 removal (2,000 ppm to 800 ppm) were achieved by using a 5.72 m 2 indoor green wall inside a 38.88 m 2 room within two hours only. However, the substrate matrix of the green wall was kept isolated with the help of aluminium foil to avoid the influence of substrate respiration, which is harmful for plant health in the long run. ...
... Yarn et al. (2013) indicated that spathiphyllum kochii was able to absorb CO 2 from human breathing. In another study, Su and Lin (2015) highlighted the ability of bird nest ferns to remove CO 2 at the rate of 1.984 ppm/hr in their research. Jamaludin et al. (2016) stated that both relative humidity and levels of TVOC, and CO 2 were considerably reduced by applying a landscape in a university classroom. ...
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... Frequencies and percentages of research environments usedTable 9 Pollutant exposure durations, sampling frequencies, and sampling periods Xu et al. 2016; Dai et al. 2018)(Oh et al. 2011;Irga et al. 2013;Torpy et al. 2014;Su and Lin 2015;Abbass et al. 2017;Lin et al. 2017) ...
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No study has comprehensively reviewed the effects of indoor plants on air quality; therefore, this study systematically reviewed quantitative empirical research on these effects in both English and Chinese. The information sources were the Web of Science and WanFang Data Knowledge Service Platform electronic databases. Only journal articles reporting quantitative empirical research were selected. The eligibility criteria included studies with (1) interventions of any indoor plant, excluding biofilters that combine power facilities and vegetation, (2) comparators included within the same experimental treatment or between different experimental treatments, (3) air quality effects objectively measured using any instrument, and (4) any study design. Both authors screened 95 journal articles and compiled information according to (1) intervention (plant species, foliage, or medium), (2) scientific family name of each plant, (3) study design (experiment, field experiment, or survey), (4) air quality (e.g., temperature, humidity, negative ions, radiation, and dust), (5) pollutants, (6) research environment, (7) ventilation (types and rates), (8) climate (lighting, temperature, and humidity), (9) exposure duration, (10) sampling frequency or period, and (11) number of replications. The primary effects of the potential of the indoor plants on air quality were reduced pollutant levels (particularly formaldehyde, benzene, and toluene removal), followed by increase in humidity and decrease in temperature. In addition, including various plant species could improve the effects of indoor vegetation on ameliorating air quality and microclimate conditions.
... However, vertical structures enable greater plant density for floor space. Su & Lin (2015) found that, within an hour, a 6 m 2 indoor green wall could lower CO 2 concentrations from 2,000 to 800 ppm in a 39 m 3 room. In outdoor set-ups, the reduction rate is much smaller, but the aesthetic and stress-reduction potentials of greener cities argue for plant structures at larger scales. ...
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... The application of phytoremediation for air purification originated with investigations by Wolverton and colleagues (Wolverton et al. 1984), who demonstrated the capability of foliage plants for purifying volatile organic compound (VOC)-contaminated air. Subsequently, the biological activity of plant and substrate microflora has been shown to be capable of reducing various air pollutants including CO 2 Torpy et al. 2014;Su and Lin 2015), particulate matter (PM) (Gawrońska and Bakera 2015;Pettit et al. 2019), ozone (Abbass et al. 2017) and VOCs (Godish and Guindon 1989;Wolverton and Wolverton 1993;Wood et al. 2002;Orwell et al. 2004;Wood et al. 2006;Aydogan and Montoya 2011;Irga et al. 2013;Torpy et al. 2013). ...
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... Although it is likely that an impractical number of potted-plants will be needed to offset all CO 2 occupant emissions from most built environment applications , green walls provide a greater density of plants for a given area of floor space, and thus may provide greater value in this regard. Su and Lin (2015) showed that a 5.72 m 2 indoor plant wall could reduce the CO 2 concentration of a 38.88 m 3 room from 2000 to 800 ppm within an hour. Notably, however, each plant's substrate was covered with aluminium foil to eliminate the effect of substrate respiration, which would not be possible for longer-term plant health, and thus largely negates the practical value of this study. ...
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Urban indoor air quality (IAQ) is an international health issue, since city dwellers spend 90% of their time indoors. Research by a number of authors is reviewed here, demonstrating a range of capacities of indoor plants to improve IAQ and promote occupant wellbeing. Our laboratory studies, with nine 'indoor plant' species, and our 'field' studies in 60 offices, show that potted-plants can reliably reduce total volatile organic compound (TVOC) loads, a major class of indoor pollutants, by 75%, to below 100 ppb. They work equally well with or without air-conditioning, and in light or dark. An evaluation of these studies is presented, plus novel research showing that potted-plants can also remove indoor CO and, sometimes, CO 2 . The evidence overall clearly shows that the potted-plant microcosm represents an innovative technology for solving indoor air pollution, which can otherwise cause a range of adverse health effects, including 'building-related illness'. This portable, flexible, attractive, low-cost technology can complement any engineering measures and can be used in any building. To ensure sustainability of the urban environment, satisfying the 'triple bottom line' of environmental, social and economic considerations, indoor plants can be expected to become standard technology for improving IAQ -a vital building installation element.
Article
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The quality of the indoor environment has become a major health consideration, since urban-dwellers spend 80-90% of their time indoors, where air pollution can be several times higher than outdoors. Indoor potted-plants can remove air-borne contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), over 300 of which have been identified in indoor air. In this study a comparison was made of rates of removal of benzene, as model VOC, by seven potted-plant species/varieties. In static test-chambers, high air-borne doses of benzene were removed within 24 h, once the response had been stimulated (induced) by an initial dose. Removal rates per pot ranged from 12-27 ppm d–1 (40 to 88 mg m–3 d–1) (2.5 to 5 times the Australian maximum allowable occupational level). Rates were maintained in light or dark, and rose about linearly with increased dose. Rate comparisons were also made on other plant parameters. Micro-organisms of the potting mix rhizosphere were shown to be the main agents of removal. These studies are the first demonstration of soil microbial VOC degradation from the gaseous phase. With some species the plant also made a measurable contribution to removal rates. The results are consistent with known, mutually supportive plant/soil-micro-organism interactions, and developments in microbially-based biofilter reactors for cleaning VOC-contaminated air. The findings demonstrate the capacity of the potted-plant microcosm to contribute to cleaner indoor air, and lay the foundation for the development of the plant/substrate system as a complementary biofiltration system.
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We measured volatile organic compound (VOC) exposures in multiple locations for a diverse population of children who attended two inner-city schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fifteen common VOCs were measured at four locations: outdoors (O), indoors at school (S), indoors at home (H), and in personal samples (P). Concentrations of most VOCs followed the general pattern O approximately equal to S < P less than or equal to H across the measured microenvironments. The S and O environments had the smallest and H the largest influence on personal exposure to most compounds. A time-weighted model of P exposure using all measured microenvironments and time-activity data provided little additional explanatory power beyond that provided by using the H measurement alone. Although H and P concentrations of most VOCs measured in this study were similar to or lower than levels measured in recent personal monitoring studies of adults and children in the United States, p-dichlorobenzene was the notable exception to this pattern, with upper-bound exposures more than 100 times greater than those found in other studies of children. Median and upper-bound H and P exposures were well above health benchmarks for several compounds, so outdoor measurements likely underestimate long-term health risks from children's exposure to these compounds.
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The purpose of this paper was to report the effects of window views and indoor plants on human psychophysiological response in workplace environments. The effects of window views and indoor plants were recorded by measuring participant's electromyography (EMG), electroencephalography (EEG), blood volume pulse (BVP), and state-anxiety. Photo Impact 5.0 was used to simulate the environment in an office, where six conditions were examined: 1) window with a view of a city, 2) window with a view of a city and indoor plants, 3) window with a view of nature, 4) window with a view of nature and indoor plants, 5) office without a window view, and 6) office without a window view and indoor plants. Participants were less nervous or anxious when watching a view of nature and/or when indoor plants were present. When neither the window view nor the indoor plants were shown, participants suffered the highest degree of tension and anxiety.
Article
Furthermore, the authors made an experimental analysis of the effect of plants on the thermal environment and comfort inside rooms where ornamental foliage plants were placed. Ornamental foliage plants used in the experiments were S. arboricola ‘Hong Kong’ and D. fragrans ‘Massangeana.’ It was found that air temperature in the room with S. arboricola ‘Hong Kong’ was higher than in the room without plants. Relative humidity in the room which was interspersed with S. arboricola ‘Hong Kong’ showed the same increase as that where S. arboricola ‘Hong Kong’ plants were placed in line at the southern end of the room. With regard to thermal comfort, there was some difference between MRT (mean radiant temperature) in the two rooms, but little difference was found about PMV (predicted mean vote). PMV is an index which is considered to express thermal comfort for human beings and is commonly used in environmental engineering inside rooms (ISO7730, 1984).
Article
Results are presented of an investigation into the capacity of the indoor potted-plant/growth medium microcosm to remove air-borne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which contaminate the indoor environment, using three plant species, Howea forsteriana (Becc. (Kentia palm), Spathiphyllum wallisii Schott. 'Petite' (Peace Lily) and Dracaena deremensis Engl. 'Janet Craig'. The selected VOCs were benzene and n-hexane, both common contaminants of indoor air. The findings provide the first comprehensive demonstration of the ability of the potted-plant system to act as an integrated biofilter in removing these contaminants. Under the test conditions used, it was found that the microorganisms of the growth medium were the "rapid-response" agents of VOC removal, the role of the plants apparently being mainly in sustaining the root microorganisms. The use of potted-plants as a sustainable biofiltration system to help improve indoor air quality can now be confidently promoted. The results are a first step towards developing varieties of plants and associated microflora with enhanced air-cleaning capacities, while continuing to make an important contribution to the aesthetics and psychological comfort of the indoor environment.
Chapter
A green wall or vertical garden is usually a part of construction and consists of some sort of vegetation. An analysis in history illustrates that green walls are not recent expertise but be able to present several benefits as a part of current urban mean. Plants have been utilizes to wrap walls from the time when the hanging gardens of Babylon and the beginning. The green wall affords an ergonomically beneficial situation to effective in the vertical plane. This is mainly right at what time an edible harvest wall is installed. Plants have found an address on walls for centuries, but are from time to time incompatible with architecture, often breaking down the structural integrity of a building’s elevation. Green wall may take a vary shape and size depending on the wall’s scale and the plants selected. It can be a spectacular design statement for the climatic skin surfaces or intermediary spaces. Green Walls, be able to be a civic display of beauty, art, expression and presently as significant as green roofs.
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Laboratory experiments and quasi-experimental field studies have documented beneficial effects of indoor plants on outcomes such as psychophysiological stress, task performance, and symptoms of ill health. Such studies have taken an interest in the value of indoor plants in work settings, but they typically have not considered how the effects of plants might compare with effects of other workplace characteristics. The present study makes an initial attempt to situate the potential benefits of indoor plants in a broader workplace context. With cross-sectional survey data from 385 Norwegian office workers, we used hierarchical regression analyses to estimate the associations that plants and several often-studied workplace factors have with perceived stress, sick leave, and productivity. Other variables included in our models were gender, age, physical workplace factors (e.g., noise, temperature, lighting, air quality), and psychosocial workplace factors (demands, control, social support). After controlling for these variables, the number of indoor plants proximal to a worker's desk had small but statistically reliable associations with sick leave and productivity. Although small, such associations can have substantial practical significance given aggregation over the large number of office workers over time.
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Children of school age spend a large part of their daily lives not only at home but also at school. The present study surveyed the possible health benefits of indoor plant intervention on the indoor environment for 15 students in 6 classrooms (4 classrooms with indoor plants and 2 classrooms without indoor plants) in 2 newly built elementary schools in Seoul, South Korea. Symptom degree of building-related illness was evaluated as sick school syndrome according to indoor plant placement. An observation of the air temperature of the classrooms for 3 months after indoor plant placement did not find a change in the classroom at School A but detect a decrease in the classroom at School B with or without indoor plants. Formaldehyde concentration in indoor air reduced with time spent in the classrooms at both schools, and was not affected by indoor plant placement. After 3 months, volatile organic compounds showed high concentrations in the classrooms without indoor plants but demonstrated low concentrations in the classrooms with indoor plants only at School B. In the comparison of the symptom score, there was a constant decrease in the classroom with indoor plants but not in the classroom without indoor plants. However, multiple regression analysis showed that the subjective symptom degree of sick school syndrome had little relation to indoor plants.
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Research over the last three decades has shown that indoor plants can reduce most types of urban air pollutants, however there has been limited investigation of their capacity to mitigate elevated levels of CO2. This study profiled the CO2 removal potential of eight common indoor plant species, acclimatised to both indoor and glasshouse lighting levels, to develop baseline data to facilitate the development of indoor plant installations to improve indoor air quality by reducing excess CO2 concentrations. The results indicate that, with the appropriate choice of indoor plant species and a targeted increase in plant specific lighting, plantscape installations could be developed to remove a proportion of indoor CO2. Further horticultural research and development will be required to develop optimum systems for such installations, which could potentially reduce the load on ventilation systems.
Article
Three porous materials (growstone, expanded clay and activated carbon) were evaluated as hydroponic growing media and for their individual ability to remove the indoor volatile organic compound formaldehyde under three conditions: growing medium alone, dry medium in a pot, and wet medium in a pot. The total percent-reduction of formaldehyde by each growing media was evaluated over a 10-h period. In all cases, activated carbon achieved the highest removal under the three conditions studied with average percent reductions measured at about 98%. Four common interior plants: Hedera helix (English ivy), Chrysanthemum morifolium (pot mum), Dieffenbachia compacta (dump cane) and Epipremnum aureum (golden pathos) growing in growstone were then tested for their ability to remove formaldehyde. The removal capacity of the aerial plant parts (AP), the root zone (RZ) and the entire plant (EP) growing in growstone were determined by exposing the relevant parts to gaseous formaldehyde (∼2000 μg m−3) in a closed chamber over a 24-h period. The removal efficiency between species and plant parts were compared by determining the time interval required to decrease about 2/3 of the total formaldehyde concentration reduction, T2/3. The T2/3 measured were 23, 30, 34 and 56 min for EP of C. morifolium, E. aureum, D. compacta and H. helix, respectively. The formaldehyde removal by the root zone was found to be more rapid than the removal by the aerial plant parts.
Article
Case studies were performed in two high schools (designated K and J) in Seoul, Korea in order to examine how in-class plantscapes consisting of ornamental plants affected the indoor environment and the stress level of students. Forty-two healthy female students, 16 to 17 years old, were assigned to classrooms with or without plantscapes. Although the differences were small, plants lowered the temperature, raised the relative humidity in the classrooms, and reduced the amount of airborne fine particles. Positive descriptors such as 'clean', 'soft', 'comfortable', and 'fresh' were used by the students to describe the classrooms with plants in both schools after installation of the plants. The stress level of the students was lower in rooms with plants than without in school K and but not in school J; students in control rooms in both schools did not show a significant change in stress. Saliva cortisol content, a physiological indicator of stress, was not reduced by the presence of plants in either school; however, the number of visits to the infirmary was lower for students in rooms with plants than in the control rooms at both schools. The results indicate that the presence of plants improved the physical environment, the general ambience (i.e., appropriate place for classes' and 'relaxed place'), and reduced the level of stress among the students. The role of the interior plantscapes in living spaces is discussed. JSHS
Article
The available scientific data suggest that existing technologies and procedures can improve indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in a manner that significantly increases productivity and health. While there is considerable uncertainty in the estimates of the magnitudes of productivity gains that may be obtained, the projected gains are very large. For the U.S., the estimated potential annual savings and productivity gains are $6 to $14 billion from reduced respiratory disease, $2 to $4 billion from reduced allergies and asthma, $10 to $30 billion from reduced sick building syndrome symptoms, and $20 to $160 billion from direct improvements in worker performance that are unrelated to health. Productivity gains that are quantified and demonstrated could serve as a strong stimulus for energy efficiency measures that simultaneously improve the indoor environment.
Article
This research studied possible benefits of indoor plants on attention capacity in a controlled laboratory experiment. Participants were 34 students randomly assigned to one of two conditions: an office setting with four indoor plants, both flowering and foliage, or the same setting without plants. Attention capacity was assessed three times, i.e. immediately after entering the laboratory, after performing a demanding cognitive task, and after a five-minute break. Attention capacity was measured using a reading span test, a dual processing task known to tap the central executive function of attention. Participants in the plant condition improved their performance from time one to two, whereas this was not the case in the no-plant condition. Neither group improved performance from time two to three. The results are discussed in the context of Attention Restoration Theory and alternative explanations.Research highlights► Indoor plants in an office can prevent fatigue during attention demanding work. ► Attention restoration does not depend on a defined “five-minute” break. ► Benefits of plants can occur in offices with window view to nature
Article
The variety of chemical substances present in modern building products, household products and furnishings provides potential for chemical reactions in the material (case 1), on the material surface (case 2) and in the gas phase (case 3). Such “indoor chemistry” is known as one of the main reasons for primary and secondary emissions. The conditions of production often cause unwanted side reactions and a number of new compounds can be found in finished products. Elevated temperatures are responsible for the degradation of cellulose, decomposition of non-heat-resistant additives and other thermally induced reactions like Diels–Alder synthesis. Heterogeneous chemistry takes place on the surface of materials. Well-known examples are the formation of aliphatic aldehydes from the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids or the cleavage of photoinitiators under the influence of light. In case of composite flooring structures hydrolysis is one of the major pathways for the appearance of alcohols from esters. If different kinds of material are fixed together, emissions of new VOCs formed by inter-species reactions are possible. Other indoor air pollutants are formed by rearrangement of cleavage products or by metabolism. Compounds with –CC– bonds like terpenes, styrene, 4-phenylcyclohexene, etc. undergo gas phase reactions with O3, NOx, OH and other reactive gases. It has been shown that such products derived from indoor-related reactions may have a negative impact on indoor air quality due to their low odor threshold or health-related properties. Therefore, the understanding of primary and secondary emissions and the chemical processes behind is essential for the evaluation of indoor air quality. This publication gives an overview on the current state of research and new findings regarding primary and secondary emissions from building products and furnishings.
Article
Particulate matter accumulation on horizontal surfaces was measured gravimetrically, at one week intervals, in two interior spaces. Interior plants were added to or removed from the rooms on a random schedule. Particulate matter accumulation was lower in both rooms when plants were present than when plants were absent. The location of particulate matter deposition was unaffected by the presence or absence of plants: collection dishes located near the corners of a room consistently accumulated less particulate matter than dishes in other locations, regardless of treatment. In addition, relative humidity was higher when plants were present.
Article
Maintaining acceptable indoor air quality (IAQ) for a healthy environment is of primary concern, policymakers have developed different strategies to address the performance of it based on proper assessment methodologies and monitoring plans. It could be cost prohibitive to sample all toxic pollutants in a building. In search of a more manageable number of parameters for cost-effective IAQ assessment, this study investigated the probable correlations among the 12 indoor environmental parameters listed in the IAQ certification scheme of the Hong Kong Environment Protection Department (HKEPD) in 422 Hong Kong offices. These 12 parameters consists of nine indoor air pollutants: carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), respirable suspended particulates (RSP), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), formaldehyde (HCHO), total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), radon (Rn), airborne bacteria count (ABC); and three thermal comfort parameters: temperature (T), relative humidity (RH) and air velocity (V). The relative importance of the correlations derived, from largest to smallest loadings, was ABC, Rn, CO, RH, RSP, CO2, TVOC, O3, T, V, NO2 and HCHO.Together with the mathematical expressions derived, an alternative sampling protocol for IAQ assessment with the three ‘most representative and independent’ parameters namely RSP, CO2 and TVOC measured in an office environment was proposed. The model validity was verified with on site measurements from 43 other offices in Hong Kong. The measured CO2, RSP and TVOC concentrations were used to predict the probable levels of the other nine parameters and good agreement was found between the predictions and measurements. This simplified protocol provides an easy tool for performing IAQ monitoring in workplaces and will be useful for determining appropriate mitigation measures to finally honor the certification scheme in a cost-effective way.
Article
The technology of using houseplant leaves for reducing volatile organics inside closed facilities has been demonstrated with formaldehyde and benzene. Philodendrons are among the most effective plants tested to date. Philodendron domesticum had demonstrated the ability to remove formaldehyde from small experimental chambers at a rate of 4.31 micro-g/sq cm leaf surface area with initial starting concentrations of 22 ppm. At initial starting concentrations of 2.3 ppm a formaldehyde removal rate of 0.57 micro-g/sq cm was achieved during a 24 hour test. Aleo vera demonstrated a much higher formaldehyde efficiency removal rate than Philodendron domesticum at low formaldehyde concentrations. During a 24 hour exposure period 5 ppm of formaldehyde were reduced to 0.5 ppm demonstrating a removal efficiency rate of 3.27 micro-g/sq cm. Removal efficiency rates can be expected to decrease with concentration levels because fewer molecules of chemicals come in contact with the leaf surface area. Several centimeters of small washed gravel should be used to cover the surface of pot plants when large numbers of plants are kept in the home. The reason for this is to reduce the exposed area of damp potting soil which encourages the growth of molds (fungi). The leaves of Philodendron domesticum and golden pothos (Scindapsus aureus) have also demonstrated their ability to remove benzene and carbon monoxide from closed chambers. A combination of activated carbon and plant roots have demonstrated the greatest potential for removing large volumes of volatile organics along with smoke and possible radon from closed systems. Although fewer plants are required for this concept a mechanical blower motor must be used to pull or push the air through the carbon-root filter. NASA studies on motor sizes and bioregeneration rates should be completed by 1988.
Article
A strong research tradition in the European countries about volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and indoor air quality has led to several consensus reports about stategies for VOC measurements including the development of methods to measure VOC emissions from building products. European and Nordic standards have been developed for emission testing including several national and international labeling schemes. Proposals for guidelines for a number of different VOCs have been developed either nationally or by consensus. A compound-by-compound approach for health evaluation of VOCs has become more common and there appears to be a growing recognition to focus on the biologic relevance of organic compounds in indoor air (OCIAs).
Article
In the present study, the results of a measurement campaign aiming to assess cancer risk among two special groups of population: policemen and laboratory technicians exposed to the toxic substances, benzene and formaldehyde are presented. The exposure is compared to general population risk. The results show that policemen working outdoor (traffic regulation, patrol on foot or in vehicles, etc.) are exposed at a significantly higher benzene concentration (3-5 times) than the general population, while the exposure to carbonyls is in general lower. The laboratory technicians appear to be highly exposed to formaldehyde while no significant variation of benzene exposure in comparison to the general population is recorded. The assessment revealed that laboratory technicians and policemen run a 20% and 1% higher cancer risk respectively compared to the general population. Indoor working place air quality is more significant in assessing cancer risk in these two categories of professionals, due to the higher Inhalation Unit Risk (IUR) of formaldehyde compared to benzene. Since the origin of the danger to laboratory technicians is clear (use of chemicals necessary for the experiments), in policemen the presence of carbonyls in indoor air concentrations due to smoking or used materials constitute a danger equal to the exposure to traffic originated air pollutants.
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