FREE INFO: Circle 108 on Reader Service
card or Buildings.com/freeinfo
With cooling from 1-12 tons
and the ability to customize units
to whatever size you need,
Spot Coolers brings you instant,
cost-effective, cool relief!
We’re available every day, all day,
365 days a year! Give us a call!
MovinCool, SpotCool, Office Pro
and ClimatePro are registered
trademarks of DENSO Corporation.
RENTALS & SALES
5 Air Purifying Indoor Plants
THE BEST OFFICE PLANTS FOR INDOOR AIR QUALITY
When it comes to indoor air quality, plants may liter- ally be a breath of fresh air.
However, not all plants are equally
effective at removing VOCs from indoor
air. Research into air purifying indoor
plants has yielded several top species
that are especially good at absorbing
VOCs with their leaves and roots.
NASA’s landmark 1989 research on
air purifying indoor plants focused on
three common chemicals – benzene,
trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.
Vadoud Niri’s 2016 research on plant
VOC uptake at the State University of
New York at Oswego ( bit.ly/2zqDawF)
examined the effectiveness of several
species of air-purifying plants at removing eight compounds: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, p-xylene, o-xylene,
acetone, dichloromethane (methylene
chloride) and trichloromethane (
chloroform). Exposing the plants to several
VOCs at once brings the research a step
closer to a typical office environment
where multiple VOCs would be present.
The best indoor plants that clean the
air, according to research by Niri and
This tropical plant removed at least
80% of six of the eight compounds
Niri tested from the air in its 76-liter
test chamber. It also placed fifth of 50
houseplants studied by retired NASA
scientist B.C. “Bill” Wolverton.
Also known as Warneckei, Dracaena
Spider Plant (Chloro-
deremensis removed 50% of formal-
dehyde, 52% of benzene and 10% of
trichloroethylene from a chamber over
a 24-hour period in NASA’s pioneering
1989 study. It also outperformed all four
other plants in Niri’s study by removing
94% of the acetone from the air in its
Niri rated this plant as “lightning fast,”
noting that the concentration of VOCs
immediately began to go down in the
spider plant’s test chamber as soon as
the plant was placed inside.
Jade Plant (Crassula
Jade scored highest for removing tolu-
ene from the air in Niri’s lab tests.
NASA’s research saw the Golden
Pothos paired with an activated carbon
filter system. Together, they excelled in
two-hour test periods examining how
well they removed benzene and trichlo-
roethylene from test chambers. The low
concentration test saw benzene levels
drop from just short of 0.25 parts per
million (ppm) to barely detectable levels,
while trichloroethylene started at about
0.15 ppm and similarly ended near zero.
NASA observed similar results with the
high concentration chamber. A concentration of 35 ppm trichloroethylene and
37 ppm benzene dropped to between 0
and 1 ppm over the same two-hour span.
Janelle Penny janelle.penny
buildings.com is Senior Editor of