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Spotlight: Green Star - Office Interiors v1.1 'Indoor plants'

We’re giving plants the green thumbs up!  Plants in the office environment can improve employee morale, decrease absenteeism and increase worker efficiency. 

A range of studies, such as that conducted at Washington State University, have found that productivity can increase by as much as 12 percent when people performed tasks in a room with plants.

Good indoor environment quality is a hallmark of any Green Star – Office Interiors v1.1 project.  Within the IEQ category, the IEQ-15 credit encourages the installation of indoor plants.  Plants must be selected based on their suitability to indoor environments, and a ‘horticultural maintenance plan’ must be carried out for at least two years to ensure the health of the plants is maintained.

One point is awarded when there is a minimum density of one large plant (300mm pot) or two small plants (200mm pot) per two work settings.  Two points are awarded where the plant density is increased to a minimum of one large plant or two small plants per work setting.

Built Environs achieved a 5 Star Green Star – Office Interiors v1.1 rating for the fitout of its head office at 100 Hutt Street in Adelaide.  To improve indoor air quality and staff wellbeing, more than 330 indoor plants – including Sansevieras, Bromeliads and Yuccas – were distributed throughout the building; this exceeded the Green Star requirement by more than 25 per cent. 

“The presence of plants has been shown to lower workplace stress, decrease fatigue and to enhance productivity through increased wellbeing,” says Rocky Slater, Design Manager at Built Environs.

In Melbourne, the ISIS headquarters office fitout also achieved a 5 Star Green Star – Office Interiors v1.1 rating.  Particular attention was paid to IEQ credits as they contribute directly to occupant satisfaction and maximise the potential for improved productivity. 

“As Green Star focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of building occupants through better IEQ, it aligns with one of our key corporate values – that people are our greatest asset,” explains Gerard McMahon, Group Executive - Operations, People and Sustainability at ISIS.

More than 350 plants - Sanseviera Intermedia and Dracaena Janet Craig - were selected for their suitability to the indoors.  The extensive use of indoor plants was controversial at the design stage, as opinion was divided on their aesthetic appeal and practicality.  However, once in place the indoor plants and the large green wall have proven to be popular and easy to maintain.

The plants have contributed to a healthy, productive work environment.  ISIS undertook pre- and post-occupancy assessments to measure occupant satisfaction and confirm if the design intent was achieved.  The study found an improvement in all categories of occupant satisfaction, with an overall office satisfaction score of 92 per cent. 

Want us to shine the spotlight on a particular Green Star credit?  Email greenstar@gbca.org.au to let us know.