The uniform lighting found in so many buildings may be efficient, but it frequently lacks character and is often harsh. The elimination of shadows and the lack of movement reinforce the sterile, artificial character of many buildings. Poor lighting quality is also frequently cited as a contributor to sick building syndrome. Nature, on the other hand, provides us with subtle changes in light and shade. Dappled shade and gentle movement of shadows played through the foliage of interior plants can provide interest and enrichment to the indoor environment.
Place plants near windows. Plants with small leaves or delicate fronds can be placed near windows to provide dappled shade without blocking out too much useful daylight. They also have the additional benefit of helping to keep warm offices cool in summer.
Make use of decorative lighting (not just at Christmas). Think about including some low-voltage LED lights among plant displays. Small points of light placed among the foliage of plants can add interest and cast interesting shadows. LEDs are naturally cool, so the risk of heat damage is lessened and they can be powered by batteries or even solar cells.
Introduce artificial daylight. Full-spectrum lighting combined with interior plants has been shown to reduce stress, reduce absenteeism and increase performance including research carried out by Prof. Tove Fjeld in Norway. So-called SAD lights placed behind plants or full-spectrum fluorescent tubes fitted in the ceilings replicate daylight extremely well and will result in increased well-being people and will benefit the plants too.
Shading / reducing heat build up, especially in atriums and by sunny windows.
How a combination of interior plants and artificial daylight can affect well-being and effectiveness in buildings.
Explore the use of interior plants as part of a sustainable building management system.