Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Green is Good – for Indoor Air Quality

Houseplants are beautiful and bring life to the indoors, but did you know they are also excellent for your Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?

NASA has been working on space station planning, where air is at an absolute premium, they've studied the topic in depth.  They've shared those findings and made a ranking of commonly available houseplants for their air cleansing properties.  For a 2000 square foot home, their recommendation is to have at least 15 houseplants to cleanse the air.  Which in my little home means we get to put a few gorgeous, air-cleaning plants into each room.

Each plant has its own preferred air mixture to absorb, which means that we can target troublesome VOCs with a mixture that fits our home's risk profile.  

Just painted? Benzene, a common chemical released from detergents, paint, and tobacco smoke, is best absorbed by English ivy, gerbera daisies, pot mums, peace lily, bamboo palm, and Mother-in-law's Tongue.

Made an IKEA run? Peace lily and bamboo palm were effective in treating Trichloroethylene, a common chemical in adhesives and compressed wood furniture.

New laminate floors or carpet? Formaldehyde in the air become well-known after the laminate flooring episode a few years back.  NASA found that the bamboo palm, Mother-in-law's tongue, dracaena warneckei, peace lily, dracaena marginata, golden pathos, and green spider plant worked well for filtering Formaldehyde from the air, which is also common in plywood, insulation, and carpet.

The top ten houseplants for overall IAQ, are:

1.   Philodendron scandens `oxycardium', heartleaf philodendron
2. Philodendron domesticum, elephant ear philodendron
3. Dracaena fragrans `Massangeana', cornstalk dracaena
4. Hedera helix, English ivy
5. Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant
6. Dracaena deremensis `Janet Craig', Janet Craig dracaena
7. Dracaena deremensis `Warneckii', Warneck dracaena
8. Ficus benjamina, weeping fig
9. Epipiremnum aureum, golden pothos
10. Spathiphyllum `Mauna Loa', peace lily

Take a moment this month to freshen your home, naturally, using houseplants!  How many plants do you keep in your house, and which are your favorites?


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