Benefits of Green Walls in the Workplace
- October 4th, 2015
- Living Walls
Greening the Workplace
Employees in today’s workplaces spend more time indoors and away than from the natural environment. Interest has grown in how the physical office environment impacts employee well-being and how negative effects can be improved.
An answer to improving employees’ well-being?
Research has found the beneficial effects of nature on humans and how we can incorporate these benefits into office settings. One such method of incorporation is living walls.
Living walls, also known as green walls, vertical gardens, or green façades, can be installed on outdoor and indoor walls. They offer measurable environmental and practical benefits on top of their aesthetic appeal.
Health and Well Being Benefits:
Improved air quality is the primary environmental benefit of green walls; living wall plants help absorb pollutants, reducing indoor air pollution by emitting fresh oxygen.
Common indoor air pollutants include formaldehyde, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, disinfectants, and radon. These pollutants come from various sources, including; carpet materials, plastic products, adhesives, paints, and heating and ventilation systems. Furthermore, they contribute to “Sick Building Syndrome (SBS),” a term used to describe the effects these pollutants have on a person’s health. Symptoms of SBS include allergies, headaches, and fatigue and may cause nervous-system disorders and cancer.
Along with reducing indoor air pollutants, living walls expose employees to natural plants. This exposure has been found to improve worker productivity. A Washington State University study found that study participants who performed tasks with plants in the room had faster reaction times and lower blood pressure than those who performed the same tasks without plants. Living walls also reduce noise pollution, which can positively impact employee productivity. Plants can absorb, diffract, and reflect sound waves; this capability means echoes, feedback, and other workplace noises are reduced, resulting in a quieter office environment.
Alongside the benefits to employee health and productivity, green walls also offer economic advantages. Depending on the size of the living wall, the green wall can serve as insulation for the building, thereby reducing heating and cooling costs. Plants also promote natural cooling processes through photosynthesis and evapotranspiration. Other economic benefits include increased economic activity and increased property value. The customers’ perception of a building’s landscape directly reflects their perception of the quality of goods sold.
Furthermore, green space helps increase foot traffic and the number of times patrons may spend at a location. Property values are impacted positively by a green wall as a market premium is associated with buildings with high-quality landscaping. Living walls are especially beneficial for businesses that do not have outdoor green space in their vicinity. A living wall allows them to bring green space to their employees and customers.
In conclusion, there are multiple benefits green walls offer to workplaces and their employees. Bringing the outdoors inside helps improve building air quality and reduce noise pollution, positively impacting employees’ productivity. At the same time, economic benefits include lower heating and cooling costs, increased property value, and a higher level of economic activity. Lastly, greening the workplace has multiple advantages, as highlighted above. Employers and building owners have numerous reasons for considering them a good investment in their employees, business, and building.
Visit our live walls project page to see examples of how to incorporate green in your future space.
Christian Mahlstedt, President