Potted plants are the key to creating truly green office environments, if experts in America are to be believed.
A scheme entitled Plants at Work is aiming to promote the benefits of having the odd rhododendron dotted around the office furniture by claiming that, not only do they look pretty, they remove toxic chemicals from the air.
Sick building syndrome has been scientifically proven but the experts behind Plants at Work claim that some greenery between office equipment can help negate this.
The illness occurs when stale air is not replaced by fresh, a problem typical of more environmentally-friendly offices buildings which are sealed units that rely on air conditioning systems to refresh the environment.
Dr Billy Wolverton, from the John Stennis Space Centre, has backed this claim and has said: "We’ve found that plants have been found to suck these chemicals out of the air. After some study, we’ve unravelled the mystery of how plants can act as the lungs and kidneys of these buildings".
As well as helping to prevent sick building syndrome, research from a number of US academics has shown that plants in the office can provide a range of benefits.
Dr Roger Ulrich has found that plants placed around office furniture can reduce employee stress levels and increase productivity by as much as 12 per cent, while the Unifi Network has claimed that they help to attract and retain the best employees.
Moreover, the US Department of Agriculture has said that plants help to cool offices by as much as ten degrees C, reducing heating overheads and making operating an office full of hi-tech office equipment noticeably cheaper.
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