It has been a crazy couple of weeks! A breath of life amidst the deadlines was the experience of the beautiful green wall at the Novotel Building at Auckland Airport (*Warren & Mahoney). I love it when architecture and landscape combine to create the most beautiful living environments.
There was a report several years ago by NASA which investigated air quality and the benefit of having plants growing in habitable spaces. With so many materials containing toxic ingredients in our built environments, they can release harmful VOC's into the air which we breathe in (the worst case scenario is called the sick building syndrome). The scientists tested how plants could be used to filter these toxins - effectively cleaning the air for us - and considered it essential to have at least 1 plant per 9 m2 in an enclosed room (that is a lot, but bear in mind the tests were focused on a sealed environment!). Some plants are much better than others at absorbing toxins as well as CO2 (spider plants, snake plants, rubber plants, moth orchids, peace lily etc) but they all have some effect and even the micro organisms in the potting mix do a great job at filtering the air for you.