Dec 1, 2014

Plants not Plant

By Alan Fogarty

You may have noticed that one of the topics during World Green Building Week (WGBW) was Plants not Plant well, currently in Cundall’s London office there is a forest of plants hovering around the sustainability team. The reason for all the greenery is my firm belief that plants have a positive impact on the internal environment which no doubt you would say is obvious, but as an engineer I need facts.

About a year ago, I started researching the subject and there was some very positive anecdotal information on the net but nothing you could hang your hat on. The only way to breach this gap was to do it ourselves and so an undergraduate David Brownstein (pictured above) who had worked in Cundall for work experience, agreed to run an experiment for me.

Following research on suitable plant types, we bought a load of plants, hired some metering equipment, booked a meeting room for three weeks and let David get on with it. He measured CO₂ levels for a week with no plants and then a week with plants and to our surprise the CO₂ levels increased. David suspected that the plant were not getting enough light so he bought some ‘grow lights’ and continued for another week. While this improved the CO₂ levels, it was not sufficient to draw a conclusion. I firmly believe that my choice of meeting room, which has a glass corridor between it and the façade, was an error as the plants needed more light. I am going to continue the experiment but this time with the plants against the glass façade – would love to hear any advice or research others have done.

Watch this space for further updates…..

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  1. […] but we need other cities to follow this example. Our sustainability team in London are doing research on this at the […]



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Alan Fogarty, Sustainable Cundall, Sustainable Design


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