Just five house plants in a room can cut air pollution by a fifth

 In Air Pollution, Indoor air quality

Many people feel powerless about how they can cut pollution in their home or in their office. 

But a new study, backed by the Royal Horticultural Society, has shown a simple solution. 

Five small house plants in a modestly sized room or office can purify the air and reduce nitrogen dioxide, (NO2), a pollutant linked to respiratory disease, by 20 per cent. 

“It just shows how a simple solution can sometimes solve a big problem,” said Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox.

“This is so important as many homes and offices are not the healthiest places,” he added. “Older properties often lack adequate energy efficiency measures while poor ventilation and air flow means that our indoor environment can become a trap for potentially health-damaging pollutants.” 

The researchers tested three houseplants which they said were easy to maintain and not overly expensive — the peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii), the corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) and the fern arum (Zamioculcas zamiifolia). 

Ron said each was placed in a 150-litre test chamber containing levels of nitrogen dioxide, which is emitted by vehicles, fireplaces and stoves and would be comparable to an office next to a busy road. 

Within an hour, all of the plants, regardless of species, were able to remove about half the NO2 from the atmosphere in the chamber.  

The team calculated what these results might mean for a small office (15 cubic metres), and a medium-sized office (100 cubic metres), with different levels of ventilation. 

In a poorly ventilated small office of about 15 cubic metres with high levels of air pollution they calculated that five house plants, each about 1ft tall, would reduce NO2 levels by about 20 per cent. 

In a medium-sized office of about 100 cubic metres, five plants would reduce NO2 levels by 3.5 per cent, though this could be increased by adding more plants.

But the scientists, whose results have been published in the journal Air Quality Atmosphere & Health, pointed out that if the main aim was to remove impurities from the atmosphere, mechanical filters would still outperform plants. 

However, Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park in North Staffordshire, pointed out that house plants would provide a complementary and helpful environmental service. 

For those people concerned about pollutants in their home or office he said there were more scientific tests that could be carried out such as measuring indoor air quality, checking the ventilation to ensure the flow of fresh, healthy air, plus green energy heating solutions and argon-filled windows.  

“Not only do we provide money-saving solutions to improve energy efficiency, but our environmentally-friendly products often have the added benefit of improving peoples’ wellbeing,” concluded Ron. 

For more information on all of these ways to create a better home and office, call Ron on 0845 4746641. 

Caption: Green way to beat pollution – Five small house plants in a modestly sized room or office can purify the air and reduce nitrogen dioxide, (NO2), by 20 per cent. 

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