With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in Victoria and NSW, Interior Plantscapers are encouraged to think about how they can help their clients practise good hygiene without sacrificing aesthetic appeal indoors.
Gabrielle Stannus recently interviewed researchers from the University of Technology Sydney’s Plants and Environment Quality Research Group (UTS PEQR) on the topic of green walls and indoor air quality. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic does not seem to be ending any time soon, these researchers were asked the question that has probably been on many people’s lips, ‘Are plants able to remove viruses from the air?’
Tom Pettit, UTS Research Engineer, replied, ‘We have had similar questions to this in the past. However, this idea remains untested and it would require very extensive testing before any recommendations could be made. It is likely that other health and hygiene measures will be much more effective control methods.’ While plants can do a lot to improve indoor air quality, they are no replacement for good hygiene!
How then can we as interior plantscapers provide an aesthetically pleasing environment that also encourages good hygiene in the workplaces we operate in?
One tip is to supply well-designed and aesthetically pleasing planters that incorporate hand sanitiser dispensers and locate them in strategic locations, e.g. foyers.
Planters with hand sanitiser dispensers
Take, for example, the Clean Team Hand Sanitiser Stations designed by English firm Livingreen Design. This business has also manufactured similar glove, mask, and tissue dispensers. They claim that their products provide an opportunity to improve the appearance of any public area whilst bringing nature indoors, with all the positive mental health benefits this brings.
Clean Team units are designed for plants and all include replica (fake) plants as standard. Livingreen Design claim that humans cannot distinguish between real and replica plants and argue that the benefits of biophilic design remain the same. They also claim that replica plants pose none of the maintenance issues or costs of their living counterparts.
IPA does not share this opinion! (Read IPA’s article written by Gabrielle Stannus ‘Artificial plants? Are you for real?’ in the May 2018 issue of Hort Journal Australia).
However, units can be supplied empty for the customer to plant if required. With planting depths of 150mm, species selection may be limited.
What is happening in Australia?
The aim of this article was not to critique this product range. Rather, we wanted to find out from you what is happening in this space? Who, if anyone, is making these types of products in Australia? Could this be an opportunity for a local business?
Share your thoughts via the Interior Plantscape Association (IPA) Facebook page or email email@example.com
Gabrielle Stannus – IPA Board Member