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Indoor Landscaping

'Sustainability' and 'green buildings' are buzzwords that are fast reshaping and influencing the growth trends of architecture and building development worldwide.

While architects and developers strive to find ways of constructing and managing buildings in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly fashion, a very simple solution towards this end lies in literary bringing greenery inside the buildings, i.e. Indoor green landscaping. It is important to promote greater awareness of the benefits of interior and exterior landscaping and, hopefully, to ensure that they feature as a recognized, measurable component of new green building rating schemes. Here are some of the ways that interior plants can help.

  • Spatial Planning aids
  • Use of recycled water
  • Natural Cooling
  • Improvements in Indoor Air Quality
  • Noise Reduction
  • Improvements in Human Well-Being

Aids in spatial planning and circulation

Plant displays can be useful space management aids at home as they form natural screens and partitions, ideal in open plan homes. They help guide people around a space, whilst at the same time reducing noise, collecting dust, humidifying the air and removing some pollutants.

Recycled water usage

Rainwater is a free resource, which can be collected from the roofs of house and used to water interior and exterior plant displays.Grey water (water that’s already been used once, for instance to wash hands or dishes), once treated and recycled for re-use where drinking quality is not required, can also be used to water plants.By using the grey water in plant beds, the water collected at base and sent out to the sewage is less- polluted, as many harmful dissolved substances are filtered by the soil and plant roots. This reduces the toxins and waste that households release into the environment.

Natural Cooling

One of the benefits of interior plants is that they help cool the air around them through the process of evapotranspiration (the movement of water from the soil, through the plant and into the atmosphere). Large interior plants are also very good reducing temperature through shading. Indoor Air Quality Modulation Particulate levels (including airborne spores) can be reduced by as much as 20% in some situations. This could lead to a reduction in the use of air cleaners (although not their replacement) and an improvement in indoor air quality.

Noise Reduction

Plants can be effective at reducing background noise. Species selection and positioning are crucial to achieve these effects, and the wrong selection of plants may do more harm than good- cactus is not as good a noise absorbent as denser shrubs. Improvements in Human Well-Being Residential Apartments with large floor areas and deep plans (e.g. low and wide buildings) are seldom ‘green’ buildings as they can be difficult to ventilate naturally and there is limited access to natural light and views. Good interior landscaping can give people access to an indoor garden or views of vegetation, especially if there is an atrium or other large space, and the combination of plants and artificial daylight can help overcome the problems of lack of access to natural daylight. We personally exploited this benefit of indoor landscaping in the House 29 project, where the introduction of a green courtyard and leafy greens throughout the house made a world of difference to the feel of the living space.