Kevin Alexander Watters
Annotation 5
Green Plants for Green Buildings

This article has many credible sources: LEED (USGBC), PhD Professors from multiple Universities, NASA Officials, and others.

Microbes, such as bacteria, can rapidly adapt to a chemical contaminant by producing new colonies that are resistant to the chemical. As a result, they become more effective at converting toxic chemicals into food the longer they are exposed to the chemicals. It is also important to remember that the efficiency of plants as a filtering device increases as the concentration of chemicals in the air increases. For example, the removal rate of a chemical is much higher at 7 parts per million (ppm) exposure than at 2 ppm. (per study listed above.)


While retractable screens have become an effective tool, the advantage to using the shading from internal plants is that when the shading is most required, the inhabitants don't sacrifice exposure to natural settings (plants). While the theory of shading may sound simplistic an architect in Germany has created a system referred to as ‘Green Solar Architecture’ in which the interior climate is actually regulated with plants. The species selected include those which shed leaves over the winter, allowing for more solar energy to enter the building and flourish in the summer providing shade.

Respected research done by Dr. Roger S. Ulrich of Texas A&M University, Helen Russell, Surrey University, England as well as those conducted by Dr. Virginia Lohr of Washington State University verify that plants significantly lower workplace stress and enhance worker productivity. In Dr. Lohr’s study, common interior plants were used in a computer laboratory with 27 computer workstations. A computer program to test productivity and induce stress was specifically designed for these experiments. Participants working in an environment with plants present were 12 percent more productive and less stressed than those who worked in an environment without plants.

These are just a few of the benefits of the addition of plants to the interior built environment mentioned. Why, with the multiple benefits of plants, do we continue to force innovative technologies that consume energy to build. Instead, lets let nature do the work for us, cost less and has benefits.