Author Archive for joezazzera – Page 5

Why You Should Hire a Green Earth – Green Plants Certified Business

shows that you care about the environment

You may own a home or a business, or you may manage an office, a mall, or a hotel. No matter the circumstances, when it comes to hiring an indoor landscaping company, you want to hire a company that is Green Earth–Green Plants certified. Green certified businesses make earth-friendly practices an integral part of their daily operations.

To earn certification, businesses go through a thorough assessment to determine if they are operating in an eco-friendly way. They earn points for every environment-friendly practice they already have in use, and then they receive advice on the practices they need to put in place. Eventually these businesses make their operations “green” enough to earn sufficient points for certification.

This Green Earth–Green Plants certification program was developed by LEED accredited professional Kathy Fediw. The program is based on an assessment similar to the LEED program for green buildings and is founded on solid research results and published industry standards. It is administered by Johnson Fediw Associates, a non-partisan third party consulting firm specializing in the interior plantscape industry.

Assessment for green certification includes:

  1. Facilities: indoor and outdoor: Is the business using energy-efficient lighting and heating, reducing indoor VOC’s, using water-saving practices, establishing wildlife habitats, and so on?
  2. Transportation: Is the business using hybrid and alternative vehicles and public transportation, establishing routing efficiency, and so on?
  3. Horticulture practices: Is the business limiting pesticide usage, using sound watering practices, and so on?
  4. Recycling and reuse: Is the business reducing landfill waste by recycling plastics, glass, and so on, and is the business composting plant debris?
  5. Social responsibility: Is the business giving back to the industry and the community?
  6. Staff training and education: Is the business educating staff members on eco-friendly practices?

When you hire a green certified business, it shows that you care about the environment. Caring for our environment saves money, improves our health, and improves the quality of the air around us. Over time, caring for our environment reduces the amount of wastes and toxins we put into the landfills and oceans and saves animal habitats. Looking to the future, we can pass on a livable, sustainable environment to our
future generations.

It all starts with the decisions we make today.

NASA Research on Living Plants Indoors

indoor plants remove potentially harmful gases and pollutants from the air

Common houseplants are more than just common. They beautify our homes and offices, and they also release oxygen and assist in cleaning our indoor environment. NASA research shows that indoor plants remove potentially harmful gases and pollutants from the air.

In 1973, NASA scientists identified 107 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air inside a Skylab space station. The VOC chemicals, such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, are all known irritants and potential carcinogens. When these chemicals are trapped and unable to circulate, they cause people to become ill with symptoms such as scratchy throat and burning red eyes. This is called “sick building syndrome.”

Under the direction of B.C. “Bill” Wolverton, NASA tested a solution to VOCs by creating a BioHome, a tightly sealed building constructed with synthetic materials. Upon entering the BioHome, one experienced “sick building syndrome” until a substantial variety of houseplants were added. Another analysis of the air quality was conducted, and most VOCs were gone. Individual symptoms of “sick building syndrome” were also gone.

In the mid-1980s, Wolverton and his NASA researchers conducted studies where they placed potted foliage plants in sealed Plexiglas chambers. Studies showed that the plants were particularly effective at reducing common VOCs, including formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is commonly found in carpet backing, grocery bags, paper towels, particle board, plywood, foam insulation, paneling, and other substances.

Wolverton served in his field for over 30 years and retired as a senior research scientist at NASA. After retirement, he continued his work on air quality.

At the turn of the century, NASA and the Associate Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) reported on a 2-year indoor plant study where indoor plants were once again proven to be a valuable weapon against indoor air pollution.

Eleven popular indoor plants were placed separately in sealed, Plexiglas chambers. Chemicals were injected into the chambers. Golden pothos, philodendron, and spider plant were most effecting in removing formaldehyde molecules. Flowering plants such as chrysanthemums and gerbera daisy did best at removing benzene from the atmosphere.

Wolverton said the study further proves that indoor plants provide air purification, and he said more research needs to be done in the future.

“Plants take substances out of the air through the tiny openings in their leaves,” said Wolverton. “But research in our laboratories has determined that plant leaves, roots and soil bacteria are all important in removing trace levels of toxic vapors.”

Wolverton is the author of How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants That Purify Your Home and Office and Growing Clean Water: Nature’s Solution to Water Pollution.