Plants can contribute significantly towards improving the climate in office buildings. They add moisture to the air, can help purify the air and create a pleasant environment. These benefits can deliver cost savings, for example by reducing the need for artificial climate control (energy savings) or by improving the performance of the users of the building (work productivity).
This research should lead to more intensive and targeted use of greenery in buildings for a sustainable layout and a healthy living and working climate. The researchers are looking not only at what plants physically contribute to the air quality in buildings, but also the influence of this on the well-being and health of the users of the building. The primary focus is on employees. What are the actual effects of the large-scale use of plants on the interior climate? First, a cost/benefit analysis will be carried out. Is it possible to make savings on the traditional energy-intensive air treatment systems? Can plants reduce absenteeism due to sickness or boost concentration and productivity?
A number of companies were selected that want to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees in a green manner and whose employees do a lot of sitting or mentally demanding work with no view of greenery. The researchers will place a carefully chosen range of plants in these companies and over two years will take a number of measurements of air quality (air humidity, CO2, VOC), but also of the welfare of the employees.
This project is a joint venture between research institutions (Wageningen University & Research and Fytagoras) and businesses (Royal Flora Holland, Donkergroen, Noviflora, Dutch Green Building Council, Priva, iVerde) and is co-funded by the Horticulture and Propagation Materials top sector. Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra) will contribute their expertise on the measurement of welfare and well-being and Fytagoras has experience in measuring the effects of plants on air quality. Donkergroen will be responsible for caring for the plants and the other partners will contribute knowledge of buildings and the top sector to ensure the costs and benefits are determined optimally.
This project is being carried out in the Netherlands.