Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Abatement
During the late 1970s, when the energy crunch was being felt at both the gas pump and in heating and cooling costs, buildings were being designed to maximize energy efficiency to help alleviate spiraling energy costs. Two of the design changes that improved energy efficiency included superinsulation and reduced fresh air exchange. However, upon the occupation of these buildings, the workers began to complain of various health problems such as itchy eyes, skin rashes, drowsiness, respiratory and sinus congestion, headaches, and other allergy-related symptoms. It was determined that the airtight sealing of buildings contributed significantly to the workers’ health problems. Similarly, synthetic building materials, which are known to emit or “off-gas” various organic compounds, have been linked to numerous health complaints. The office equipment and furnishings placed in these buildings are also a contributing factor because of the types of materials used in their manufacture and design.