Going green. From big businesses to tiny neighborhoods. People all over seem to be thinking about that color. How did green get to be the color of anything sustainable, biodegradable, or otherwise earth friendly? Plants! Plants are one of the most important resources we have next to water. Not only do plants shade us, feed us, make us happier, and clothe us… they also clean our air.
NASA Clean Air Study
About 30 years ago, NASA did a little study. They wanted to discover which plants could best filter the air of the space station. Plants to filter a space station? It is true! Not only do plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, they also absorb contaminants – dangerous contaminants like formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia and many more chemicals that have been linked to negative health effects. They can also filter out bacteria and mold by producing negative ions that attract and purify the air. And to add to that the list of benefits, plants work as air moisturizers, adding beneficial humidity to the environment.
Of course, now you want to know which plants made it to the top of NASA’s list. Here they are:
- Dwarf Date and Broadleaf Lady Palms
- Boston and Kimberly Queen Ferns
- Spider Plants
- Chinese Evergreens
- Bamboo Palm
- Weeping Fig
- Devils Ivy
- Flamingo and Peace Lilies
- English Ivy
- Red Edged Dracaena
- Snake Plant
- Barberton Daisies and Chrysanthemums
Not all of them eliminate the same toxins, but all of these are fairly easy to grow and make an attractive addition to any room. Want to learn more? Get your hands on Dr. B. C. Wolverton’s book, How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 houseplants that purify your home or office.
We Took NASA’s Advice
Here at Trade Winds Dental we put this wonderful information to use in and around our dental office. Outside we have landscaped with native, drought-tolerant plants that require less water, creating a green zone for our patients to enjoy and our planet to benefit from. Inside, almost every room contains live plants, many of them the plants on the list above, and some that have since been discovered to clean the air just as well. These plants are a major component of our interior design because they add such a fresh and homey touch. Patients love them and some scientists suggest that looking at plants can make us heal faster. But what they are really there for is to improve air quality and provide you with a clean, soothing environment.
To find out all the other ways we are going green, check out our Greendoc Gold Certification by the Eco Dental Association. It’s not just our plants that give us that color rating!