Let Houseplants Improve Your Indoor Air Quality


By Ali Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC

President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter

     Homeowners know that of the most important aspects of homeownership is landscaping because the right landscaping can enhance your home’s aesthetic and financial values, protect it from weather and pests and help homeowners save on water and energy costs. Fortunately, for homeowners and homebuyers here in the Baldy View region, we enjoy a Mediterranean climate: one characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters in which intermittent periods of rain alternate with warm, sunny days. That means landscaping can be a year-round pursuit and today you can “landscape” your indoors as well to enhance your home’s comfort and improve your indoor air quality.

     According to the bookHow to Grow Fresh Air - 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office by author Dr. B.C. Wolverton, there are types of plants that can help filter the air in air-conditioned or heated homes and use common indoor house plants as “living” air purifiers. Wolverton is a former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) senior research scientist who helped develop NASA's BioHome project in which plants were used to cleanse the air in a sealed structure. He made that research available to the public with his book.

     According to Wolverton, the first step to take when making sure your interior environment is the best that it can be is to check all of your heating and air-conditioning systems that contain filters to remove dirt and dust from the air. Check your system’s instruction book or search online by model number. You can also check out indoor filters such as activated carbon and high-energy particle arrester (HEPA) filters that trap dust and other particles.

     Then, estimate the number of plants you will need in your home (NASA recommends between 15 and 18 houseplants for an 1,800 foot home) and then visit your local nursery or home improvement center to see what else they may have to offer you.

     Here are just some of the houseplants (with their scientific names in parentheses) that NASA and Dr. Wolverton recommend as the best choices for purifying your indoor air:

·         Boston fern (nephrolepis exaltata "Bostoniensis")

·         Philodendron (philodendron)

·         Rubber plant (ficus robusta)

·         Bamboo palm (chamaedorea seifritzii)

·         Chinese evergreen (aglaonema modestum)

·         English ivy (hedera helix)

·         Gerbera daisy (gerbera jamesonii)

·         Janet Craig (dracaena "Janet Craig")

·         Corn plant/mass cane (dracaena massangeana)

·         Pot mum (chrysanthemum morifolium)

·         Peace lily (spathiphyllum)

·         Warneckii (dracaena "warneckii")

·         Spider plant (chlorophytum comosum)

·         Golden pothos/Devil's ivy (epipremnum aureum) and

·         Weeping fig (ficus benjamina)

     In addition, there are several additional methods of purifying indoor air that you can use such as using salt lamps which are made from a chunk of salt that has been hollowed out to make room for a small light bulb or candle. These work by producing negative ions which help purify the air of dust, smoke, bacteria and other pollutants when the salt is heated up.

     Today’s homebuilders take considerable pride in building new homes that are the most environmentally-friendly homes ever built by utilizing the latest technologies, materials and building techniques and designs. Today’s homebuilders utilize the most knowledgeable, highly trained and sophisticated homebuilding professionals in history. New homes built here in the Baldy View region are often as much as 30 percent over government standards in order to increase energy-efficiency while reducing homeowners' environmental impact commonly known as our “environmental footprint.”

     The good news is protecting your home and your environment doesn’t mean you have to keep the outdoors outside.

     So, have a great summer and for more information on how to save money on your energy costs, conserving water or on the benefits of homeownership or remodeling, visit our website at www.biabuild.com.