Location of Repository

Healthy Workplaces: Plantscaping for indoor environmental quality

By Andrew James Smith and Michael Pitt


Purpose\ud The purpose of this paper is to investigate the indoor environmental quality benefits of plants in offices by undertaking trials using live plants.\ud \ud Methodology/Approach\ud Using two offices in the same building, one with plants and one as a control, daily tests were undertaken for relative humidity, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Results were analysed to identify any differences between the office with plants and the one without.\ud \ud Findings\ud Relative humidity increased following the introduction of plants and more significantly following additional hydroculture plants being installed, taking it to within the recommended range. Carbon dioxide was slightly higher in the planted office for the majority of the trial although there was an overall reduction in both offices. Carbon monoxide levels reduced with the introduction of plants and again with the additional plants. VOC levels were consistently lower in the non-planted office.\ud \ud Research Limitations\ud It would be useful to extend this research in a greater range of buildings and with more flexible VOC monitoring equipment.\ud \ud Practical Implications\ud This paper suggests that plants may provide an cost effective method of regulating the indoor environmental conditions within buildings. This can potentially lead to performance gains for the organisation and a reduction in instances of ill-health among the workforce.\ud \ud Originality/Value\ud The majority of previous studies have relied on laboratory work and experimental chambers. This research aims to apply previous findings to a real working environment to determine whether the air purifying abilities of plants have practical relevance in the workplace

Publisher: Emerald
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:clok.uclan.ac.uk:1629
Provided by: CLoK

Suggested articles



  1. (1998). Air-conditioned environments: System faults affecting occupant productivity and well-being in Australian buildings,” The Cutting Edge
  2. (1992). Airborne particle sizes and sources found in indoor air.”
  3. (1989). An assessment of botanical air purification as a formaldehyde mitigation measure under dynamic laboratory chamber conditions,”
  4. (2007). Assessment and prediction of exposure to benzene of filling station employees,”
  5. (2003). Characteristics of potted plants for removing offensive odors,”
  6. (1995). Constructive use of vegetation in office buildings.” Plants for People Symposium, The Hague,
  7. (1994). Detoxification of formaldehyde by the spiderplant (Chlorophytum comosum L.) and by soybean (Glycine max L.) cell-suspension cultures,”
  8. (1995). Dissatisfaction and office productivity.”
  9. (2004). Do plants in offices promote health?” Available from:
  10. (2006). Employee disengagement: Is there evidence of a growing problem?”
  11. (2006). Expectations of employees toward the workplace and environmental satisfaction.”
  12. (2008). Feasibility study on benchmarking indoor air quality (IAQ) of air-conditioned offices in Hong Kong.” Healthy and Creative Facilities,
  13. (1988). Foliage plants for improving indoor air quality.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
  14. (1998). Greening the Built Environment.”
  15. (1996). How to grow fresh air: 50 houseplants that purify your home or office. Weidenfeld and Nicolson,
  16. (2003). Improving the indoor environment for health, well-being and productivity.” Proceedings of Greening Cities: a new urban ecology,
  17. (2003). Noise, psychosocial stress and their interaction in the workplace.”
  18. (2000). Office clutter or meaningful personal displays: The role of office personalization in employee and organizational well-being.”
  19. (1994). Office noise, satisfaction and performance,”
  20. (2007). Particle emission characteristics of office printers”,
  21. (1996). Particulate matter accumulation on horizontal surfaces in interiors:
  22. (1989). Perceived facilitators and inhibitors of work performance in an office environment.”
  23. (1993). Plants and soil microorganisms: Removal of formaldehyde, xylene and ammonia from the indoor environment,”
  24. (2000). Productivity and indoor environment.”
  25. (2004). Risk assessment of exposure to volatile organic compounds in different indoor environments,”
  26. (1997). Sick Building Syndrome – the real facts: What is known, what can be done,”
  27. (2009). Sustainable workplaces: Improving staff health and wellbeing using plants.”
  28. (1991). The contribution of plants for CO2 removal from indoor air,”
  29. (2002). The impact of office environments on employee performance: the design of the workplace as a strategy for productivity enhancement.”
  30. (1997). The Indoor Plants.”
  31. (2008). Work engagement: An emerging concept

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.