An adequate installation of interior plants in a modern, sealed office structure could save U.S. companies billions via contributions to improved indoor air quality (IAQ) alone. Researchers William J. Fisk and Arthur H. Rosenfeld of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, CA) found that U.S. Companies could save as much as $58 billion annually by preventing sick-building illnesses, and an additional $200 billion in worker performance improvements by creating offices with better IAQ. The same study verified that 40% of all sick days are IAQ-related. Former NASA scientist Dr. B.C. Wolverton and others showed that interior plants can reduce airborne molds in sealed office environments by as much as 50%, improving IAQ significantly.
Exposure to green spaces has been shown to mitigate the harmful effects of chronic mental fatigue, helping to reduce stress-related illnesses, improve worker productivity and decrease aggressive behavior in the workplace. In recent studies, interior plants were shown to enhance worker productivity by 12%.
A recent survey by the Creative Group, a staffing service out of Minneapolis, found that office plants were effective in unblocking creative juices, encouraging workers to gain a better sense of the big picture.
A scientific case study on the Opryland Hotel indicates that interior plant installations can improve tenant occupancy and retention by 17% (study performed by Michael Evans, former Associate Professor of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management at VA Polytechnic Institute and State University).
And finally, proper selection and placement of plant materials can lower heating and cooling costs by as much as 20%. According to the International Society of Arboricultural, the net cooling effect of one young, healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 10 hours a day.
Plants at Work is a national information campaign created to educate the public about the benefits of plants in the workplace. See http://www.plantsatwork.org or call MJ Gilhooley at (800) 347-9014 for more information.