Indoor plants have many ecological benefits such as reducing carbon dioxide, aiding in prevention of energy loss and removing several key pollutants associated with indoor air pollution. Trapped pollutants can result in sick building syndrome which is a combination of ailments associated with an individual's place of work or residence. Indicators of sick building syndrome include headaches, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry cough, dry or itchy skin, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and sensitivity to odors.
When plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen through photosynthesis a NASA/ALCA study showed that indoor plants can remove harmful elements such a formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene from the air. Formaldehyde is used in building materials such as foam insulations and particle board. Benzene is a common solvent found in oils, plastics, rubber, paints and gasoline, and trichloroethylene is used in paints, inks, varnishes and adhesives.
Recently LEED certified building projects have successfully earned credits based upon the addition of indoor plants. For more information about LEED projects using indoor plants go to http://greenplantsforgreenbuildings.org/
Below is a list of plants that are considered the most effective in improving living and working indoor environments.
Draceana Janet Craig
Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)
Dracaena Mass Cane
Sansevieria (Snake Plant)