keys to reducing carbon footprints

By Linda Reindl | June 9, 2011 | topics: Press Release, Carbon Footprints, Interiorscapes

The Green Industry holds in their hands the keys to reducing carbon footprints and ultimately cleaning the air we breathe. Good health is now as important to some consumers as having the biggest, newest or shiniest status symbols, and “healthy lifestyles” is now one of today’s top consumer trends.

Project Carbon, a recent research project at the University of Georgia, proves that plants do remove carbon from the air we breathe. This study is the first of its kind to provide quantitative data of carbon removal by plants in an interiorscape setting. Plants in homes and offices are not only aesthetically pleasing, they can improve the quality of air we breathe!

Project Carbon, funded by the National Foliage Foundation (NFF) and supported by Green Plants for Green Buildings and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association, allowed researchers, Dr. Bodie Pennisi and Dr. Marc van Iersel, to identify the amounts of carbon removed from the air by plants, both under simulated conditions and in actual interiorscape environments. A little over a year later, research proves there is an advantage to having plants in homes and offices.

“NFF is proud to support this project as it clearly substantiates the argument for using indoor plants, and it provides a sound platform to quantifiably measure the amount of VOC’s removed from the air,” said Kathrein Markle, NFF President.

Research Highlights:

  • In addition to absorbing carbon, plants improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants.
  • While all plants take carbon out of the air, larger, woody plants absorb and keep in their bodies more carbon than small herbaceous plants over time.
  • Plants must be in healthy condition to continue removing carbon from the air we breathe.

Interiorscape plants have been documented to remove several volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene and formaldehyde. This aspect should serve as a basis for the claim for improvement of indoor air quality. Carbon dioxide assimilation provides corollary information to VOC removal and a more complete assessment of plants’ benefits to the indoor environment.

Technically speaking, Project Carbon was conducted in two phases. The first phase included growing plants under simulated interiorscape conditions. Plants were grown for 10 weeks and upon termination, the following data was taken: shoot and root dry weights and total leaf area. From this data, scientists calculated the amount of carbon that interiorscape plants removed from air. The second phase consisted of measuring carbon removed by plants “on the job” — that is plants installed in an actual interiorscape.