Everybody knows that living plants enhance indoor spaces, adding a touch of natural beauty and color to our daily lives. We forget that they also give off oxygen and, according to NASA research, actually remove harmful indoor pollutants from the air we breath. No wonder leading architects and building managers have incorporated green and blooming plants into their buildings for years.
Today’s builders and property managers are more concerned than ever about improving air quality, but they also need to reduce energy costs and minimize the environmental footprints of their buildings. They want to decrease their reliance on fossil fuels and other natural resources, while making their buildings as healthy, energy efficient, and earth-friendly as possible. One tool developed to work toward these objectives is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, guiding us toward buildings with little or no net energy use and environmental impact.
Living interior plants, green walls, and even green roofs are part of the solution — leading to a resurgence in commercial plantscaping applications that make good sense for business and the environment. According to Green Plants for Green Buildings (GPGB), there is “a considerable body of evidence pointing to plants as a naturally green solution to several serious indoor environmental quality concerns.”
Interior plantscape companies that design, install, and care for the plants are a critical component to actually achieving results. Are they the heroes in all this? Sure, their products are good for the environment, and their services help keep buildings more eco-friendly, but what about their own business practices? Many interior plant businesses are becoming increasingly aware of their own social responsibility and taking steps to become even “greener.”
One way to do so is to meet the requirements for Green Earth – Green Plants certification, the only national environmental standards program specifically for interior plantscape companies. Developed by LEED AP consultant Kathy Fediw, the Green Earth – Green Plants program consists of a rigorous 17-page assessment, with documentation required, to address each company’s own facilities, vehicle usage, horticultural practices, staff education, and community involvement.
Green Earth – Green Plants certified businesses utilize new technologies to automatically control watering and thus reduce unnecessary service calls. They also actively recycle a wide variety of their materials, minimize fossil fuel consumption, conduct extensive employee training, and use non-chemical methods to prevent insects and keep plants thriving.
“We are proud to recognize their achievements and know they will set an example for other businesses to operate in a more earth-friendly manner,” said Fediw. And, that is what it’s all about — people and businesses working together to improve our lives and our planet earth.