Cool Off this Summer with Plant Air Conditioning

We spend a lot of time indoor and thus the inside and the surrounding area of our house plays an important role in our health and wellness. Modern day hermetically sealed constructions keep away the noise pollution and heat - but at the cost of bringing down the freshness of the indoor environment through reduced air exchange. And the heat of summers makes it worse. Add to that the challenge of humidity, which is another important factor that can impact health. Low humidity levels can increase susceptibility to infections like viral fevers while higher than optimum levels have other side effects. When we use technological air-conditioning and fanning units (so to speak), even our temporary exposure to it can harm our health. Indeed, these common air-conditioning devices are known “brewers” of bacteria and viruses in closed spaces.

A natural way to enhance the quality of air and keeping our homes cooler in summers is to go for indoor plants. Plants can keep your house cool because they lose water during transpiration, which cools the air around the plants, leaving it purified and fresh.

Plants absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. A lot of potted plants are known to remove harmful toxins from air and bring down ambient temperatures, while also adding to the decor of the house. Plants tend to control humidity to within the optimum range for human health as well. Although you probably have a pot or two around your home for aesthetic purposes, you may want to consider incorporating certain plants in more numbers into your home that can not only keep the air cool, but flush out any toxins as well. Dr. Leonard Perry, a professor at the University of Vermont adds that “a USDA estimate is that proper use of plants could decrease air temperature in an office by as much as ten degrees. Plus, the moisture released by these plants helps maintain indoor humidity in the human comfort zone of 30 to 60 percent, and helps prevent materials such as wood from cracking when dried out.”

So, do not wait. This summer, try and get some of these much sought-after plants home and experience the difference. You will feel cooler, energized and positive, and may notice a significant improvement in your concentration and productivity levels too. 

Savvy home gardeners know that house plants add beauty and value to the indoors, but they might not know about the economical benefits of indoor plants. One such benefit is reduced energy costs. Although it's well-known that outdoor plants help conserve energy by keeping a house warm or cool, many don't know that indoor plants can have the same – albeit lesser – effect.

The main effects of plants indoors are:

Increased Humidity

Outdoor plants keep a house cooler in warm weather by shading it. In fact, one young, healthy tree will cool a building as much as 10 room-size air conditioners, according to the University of Vermont Extension. House plants don't have quite such a dramatic effect, but they do help keep cooling and heating costs down by adding humidity to the room.

Reduced Energy Costs

Plants release moisture into the air through the process of transpiration, which is when moisture evaporates from the leaves. This can both cool and warm a room, ironically enough. When plants release moisture into the air in a warm room, it can reduce the temperature by as much as 10 degrees, according to the University of Vermont Extension. On the other hand, according to a US News article titled "10 Ways to Save on Energy Costs This Winter," a cool but humid room feels warmer because the moist air holds heat better. So in the winter, set your thermostat a bit lower and use plants to get the air nice and humid.

Other Reduced Costs

House plants can also reduce other costs, especially when used in the workplace. Plants can reduce illnesses in hospitals, schools and business by as much as 23 percent, according to the University of Vermont Extension, which can reduce the costs of lost work, the expense of replacing teachers with substitutes, and health care related expenses. This could be attributed to the fact that many indoor plants reduce mold, bacteria and toxins in the air.

Savvy home gardeners know that house plants add beauty and value to the indoors, but they might not know about the economical benefits of indoor plants. One such benefit is reduced energy costs. Although it's well-known that outdoor plants help conserve energy by keeping a house warm or cool, many don't know that indoor plants can have the same – albeit lesser – effect.

Other Benefits of Indoor Plants 

Apart from cooling down your house temperatures and improving the indoor air quality, interior plants are also known to have the following beneficial effects: 

- Increased positivity and reduced levels of worry, stress and depression - Breathing in improved and healthier air has an impact on our overall feeling of well-being. 
- Better concentration levels leading to improved productivity - a peaceful and energetic mind makes for higher concentration levels and better performance at work and at home 
- Faster recovery from physical ailments and mental tiredness - cleaner indoor air quality is known to speed up recovery from diseases and exhaustion. 
Interiors feel spacious, looked-after and clean - well-cared-for plants add to the beauty of your home interiors. 
- Lead to better usage of space inside the house - there are studies to show that people prefer to occupy rooms with potted plants. Therefore keeping plants in various parts of the house increases the possibility of those spaces being used more on a daily basis. 
- Improved image as interiors are perceived as "more expensive" - this has more to do with perception and imagery, however, research shows that interiors with potted plants are perceived to be more expensive than those without plants. 

Plant Choices

Consistently rated among the best houseplants for improving the ambient environment, Areca Palm is also an excellent air humidifier. While selecting an Areca Palm, go for a plant with a thicker trunk at the base. Plants with trunk diameter under an inch prove to be tricky to maintain. 
Aloe Vera also brings down ambient temperatures, making for good protection from high heats. Not just that, the plant is also found to be effective in removing formaldahyde from the air and improving indoor air quality. Plant Aloe Vera in well-drained soil and allow for some drying time in between watering. 

Snake plant or Mother-in-law's Tongue is a perfect bedroom plant. Although most plants are known to take away Oxygen at night, Snake plant does just the opposite. It emits Oxygen at night while you sleep which also keeps the temperature of your indoors at a cooler levels in the night time. Not just that, the plant is known to absorb toxins such as nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene and benzene. Easy to take care of, Snake plant is good at managing with low light levels and irregular watering, with even less water requirements during the winter. Experts suggest that about 6 to 8 waist-high plants are needed to get the optimal oxygen output for a person. One of the most decorative interior plants, the Boston Fern is a natural humidifier and air purifier that cleanses the indoor air of formaldahyde and other toxins. Some call it the best of the lot in purifying air. The plant flourishes in bright light and damp soil but can also tolerate poor light and drought. 

Also known as Devil's ivy or Silver Vine, the Money Plant/ the Golden Pothos can readily outgrow its original allotted space with its evergreen leaves and multiplying stems. And yet, it is often cited as among the best house plants for improving indoor air quality. When it comes to removing indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and carbon monoxide, the Golden Pothos may win hands down. Syngoniums, Peace lily, Atnhurium and Spider plant also work very effectively towards air purification and humidifying spaces.

Our recommendation is not to stay outdoors too long, exposed to the blazing summer heat, but rather enjoy the coolness and freshness of well-aerated indoor accommodations. If you’re looking for a natural, inexpensive way to keep your house cool, consider getting the indoor plants mentioned above in 12-15 numbers indoors, which can help keep temperatures down.