Plants at school to improve air quality


Greenery in school buildings against the "sick building syndrome", to improve indoor air quality thanks to the effectiveness of some plant varieties in reducing the concentration of pollutants. A first experiment was conducted at the Saffi Institute in Florence.
The first scientific research in Italy in an educational institute
Since 2022, research has been underway promoted by Coldiretti Toscana and the Bioeconomy Institute of the National Research Council (IBE—CNR), in collaboration with the Saffi Institute of Florence and Assofloro, to "measure" the benefits of plants within the school buildings.
Indoor plants of different species have been positioned inside four classrooms of the Saffi Institute, whose action on the environment and on the uptake of polluting substances is monitored by special control units.
Inside the buildings there are a whole series of substances, harmful to health, which derive from the various products we use, such as household cleaners, but also from the materials with which the buildings themselves and the furnishings are built. For example, detergents based on trichlorethylene or ammonia or hydrochloric acid, but also the glues used in floors or carpeting, chipboard panels, plastic coatings which can produce substances harmful to health, such as formaldehyde, benzene and styrene.
The sick building syndrome
Already in 1989, a NASA study highlighted the importance of indoor plants for the reduction of pollutants present in indoor environments. NASA had conducted the study in response to "sick building syndrome" (SBS), as it came to be called in the late 20th century: a well-defined symptom pattern, which manifests itself in a large number of modern building occupants or recently renovated, equipped with mechanical ventilation and global air conditioning systems (without the introduction of fresh air from the outside) and used as offices, schools, hospitals, homes for the elderly, civilian homes.
The presentation of the first research data is scheduled for 26 April.
Cover image from Assofloro Magazine.


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