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TED 2009: How to Grow Your Own Fresh Air (greenspaces.in)
50 points by meattle on Feb 7, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments

With only three varieties of plants, we can grow our own fresh air indoors, to keep us healthy.

After studying the effects these plants had on air quality for the past 15 years in a building in New Delhi, India it was found that there was a 42% probability of increasing blood oxygen by 1% simply by being in the building for one hour. Compared to other buildings in the city, eye irritation was reduced by 52%, respiratory symptoms down by 34%, headaches by 24%, lung impairment by 12%, and asthma by 9%.

They were also able to reduce the fresh air supplied to the building and still meet industry standards for healthy indoor air, netting a reduction of energy costs by greater than 15%. With buildings consuming 40% of the world’s energy, this is a big deal.

Why those three types and not others?

The data shows that they work well together.

Areca Palm is good for the day, while Mother-in-law’s Tongue works during the night. Money Plant helps remove toxins like Formaldehyde (from carpets and furniture) from indoor air.

Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) . . . One needs about 4 shoulder high plants/person

Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata) . . . One requires about 6-8 such waist high plants per person in the bedroom

This seems like a large number of plants to fit into a space. Any tips on fitting them in without having them dominate the space?

Where I work,there's some kind of creeping vine, that's planted in the intersection of 3 cubicles and has spread beyond all of them, almost reaching the printer.

It takes up a lot of space, but it shares that space with the cubicle walls, so in a strange way it takes up very little space.

I guess what I'm saying is be creative.

Already posted: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=466315

At least this has the merit of being posted by the author, even if it was posted to HN 3 days ago.

RiderOfGiraffes, thank you. Couldn't find a "search box", hence the somewhat duplicate entry. The page posted today should be more useful to readers, as it has many more actionable details. The talk was given by my father.

Some people like to use http://www.searchyc.com for their searches.

and this: http://www.webmynd.com/html/hackernews.html

(link at the bottom of the news page)

You're welcome. As others have said, there are search facilities, but they're not easy to find. I agree that this link is better than the other. Sometimes the "duplicate" is of greater value.

It would be really useful to be able to cross-reference items more easily, and then to merge discussions and comments, but I suspect that won't happen.

Anyway, interesting talk, interesting idea. Thanks to you and your father.

This is great. These plant are also very common and therefore easy to get and don't cost much. I think I've seen the Areca Palm at Ikea.

Do you have any pictures of how it looks inside the building?

The Areca Palm is indeed available at Ikea (i know friends who have bought some from there). I suspect the Money Plant would also be available there or most garden stores. Home Depot is another one to check.

Picture of one of the building plant rooms -



One of the things that is done in the building is that air is passed through these rooms first, and then circulated through the building.

Thank you very much for sharing this simple yet (as for your claim) effective way of keeping ourselves healthy.

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