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Office Plants and the Delicate Art of Humidity Control (incl. Quiz)



As we settle into the new year, the festive memories of winter still linger warmly in our minds. Amidst the season's festivities, Oxygen at Work offered a unique blend of holiday cheer and scientific inquiry. Chocolate boxes delivered to our client's employees came with an unexpected twist: a quiz that delved into the hidden powers of office plants, challenging participants to estimate the impact of their verdant office mates on the air they breathe.



The Science Behind the Question

Before delving into the responses, let's unpack the premise. The quiz was a playful probe into the understanding of plant transpiration – the process by which water is carried through plants from roots to leaves, where it changes to vapor and is released into the air. It's a phenomenon that subtly yet significantly impacts office environments.


Quiz Mechanics and Participant Insights

Participants were provided with specific boundary conditions: a leaf area of 2 square meters, a constant light intensity of 500 lux, a steady temperature of 21°C, CO2 levels held at 980 ppm, and a relative humidity maintained at 40%. The options? Estimates ranging from 1 deciliter to 20 deciliters of water.


Revealing the Participants' Perceptions


Water Evaporation Quiz Results


The infographic above illustrates the spread of guesses among our participants. The correct answer, as surprising as it may be to some, is approximately 5 deciliters (or more precisely, 6.5dl) per week, considering the provided environmental conditions. This revelation is not merely a fun fact; it's a testament to the remarkable capabilities of our green companions in regulating office humidity.


Charting the Findings


Water Evaporation of Plants in Office Environment

Referencing the chart above, we visualize the correct answer within the context of our quiz conditions. The intersection of the specific temperature and humidity levels with the transpiration rate brings the science to life, substantiating the rounded 5-deciliter answer.


Celebrating the Winners: The Champions of Transpiration Knowledge

  1. Bring! Labs AG*

  2. N-Dream AG*

  3. UNISERS AG*

* we'll get in touch with the respective contacts soon.


Why Does This Matter?

Understanding plant transpiration is crucial in appreciating how indoor greenery can modulate the microclimate of workspaces. It's not just about beautification; it's about leveraging the natural processes of plants to create healthier, more comfortable environments.


Plants Versus Mechanical Humidifiers: A Natural Balance

While plants and mechanical humidifiers both aim to regulate humidity, they do so in markedly different ways. Mechanical humidifiers add moisture to the air through vaporization or ultrasonic technology, offering precise control over humidity levels. However, they can require significant energy consumption and regular maintenance to prevent mold and mineral buildup.


Plants, on the other hand, offer a self-regulating system. They increase humidity through transpiration when the air is dry and reduce their water release in higher humidity, as demonstrated in the graph above. This natural regulation is accompanied by a suite of additional benefits:


  • Air Purification: Plants absorb toxins and emit oxygen, improving air quality beyond just moisture.

  • Aesthetic and Psychological Benefits: Green spaces have been shown to reduce stress and enhance productivity, offering a serene and visually pleasing element to the office environment.

  • Energy Efficiency: Plants transpire as part of their natural life processes, requiring no external energy input, thus contributing to a greener, more sustainable office.


Conclusion

The quiz from Oxygen at Work was a playful yet insightful foray into the symbiotic relationship we share with plants. It highlighted a simple truth: in the right conditions, a plant's invisible exhale can become a silent yet powerful ally in our quest for a balanced and healthy office atmosphere.

As we enter a new year, let's nurture the greenery that breathes life into our workspaces, recognizing the subtle but significant impact of our photosynthesizing friends.




 

Calculations and graphic: VEG Model developed by R&PD team

Article: Marketing team

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