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What is the most sustainable way to keep offices cool?

Aglaonema commutatum Schott (Chinese evergreen) in tall planters

We take if for granted that offices are air-conditioned these days but how sustainable is traditional air-conditioning? 

We are no experts on HVAC but we do know of one of nature’s ways to cool the air – plants!

So how Do Plants Cool the Air?

Plants control the weather. That might seem like a bold statement, but it is scientifically accurate. We don’t mean that one plant in a window box is going to cause a hurricane, but multiple plants crowded into one space creates its own ecosystem, temperature regulation and all.

Plants cool the air by absorbing some of the UV rays that heat the planet. They turn this into growth and mix it with water to create condensation. The condensation enters the air as humidity. So essentially a plant will draw in harmful sunrays, lower the temperature in the process, then convert that energy into humidity.

According to Stanford University, plants can alter weather and climate by approximately 30%. This is backed by our knowledge of climate change, where scientists recently realised that trees were saving us from a lot more carbon pollution than was previously thought. Through soaking up carbon they are effectively preventing a climate disaster, which is why the current draw towards planting more trees.


Indoor Plants Can Keep the Office Cool in More Ways Than One

If we were to use what we know about indoor plants to draw people into our office, we could help to keep the temperature regulated and save on heating or cooling costs.

Plenty of plants and plant pots also means a happier employee. Studies by the University of Exeter have shown employees are both happier and more productive when you decorate the office with plants. Their research showed a 15% productivity increase in ‘greener’ offices.

So, you could have happier employees that are motivated to come back to the office. The office could be naturally cooler, and you could be doing your part for the environment, all with a few potted plants. Not only do you get all the above, but interaction with indoor plants in the office has proven to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing[i].

Outdoor Plants Can Regulate Temperature, too.

It doesn’t stop at the office. Plants are so well able to regulate temperature that they are responsible for the ecosystem of the rainforests. Landscaping outside of a city home or building can provide a cooler property, with better curb appeal and space to reflect. Who doesn’t want to be free from the city for a few moments? Even if it’s only for a few square feet.

Use Plants to Keep Cool this Summer

So: can plants regulate temperature? Yes. They cool the room, raise the humidity level, help employee happiness, boost mental health, and even increase productivity.

The only question left, therefore, is why you wouldn’t have plants in the office? It’s just good business sense.

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