Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Oxygen at Work

Smart greening for the office

Work & Lifestyle

AI-designed planting improves indoor air quality to increase productivity


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Spotted: According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), poor indoor air quality increases the risk of illness and can even lead to chronic headaches and fatigue – often referred to as ‘sick building syndrome’. And as far back as 1989, an EPA Report to Congress concluded that improving indoor air quality can result in higher productivity and fewer lost workdays. 

However, traditional ventilation systems can be expensive to install and energy-intensive to run. By providing plants through its subscription service, Swiss startup Oxygen at Work aims to improve the air quality of workplaces, while also boosting the aesthetics of a space. But the company’s solution is hi-tech as well as natural, as it employs artificial intelligence (AI) to make planting work as well as possible for any given space. And the company’s services include not just the provision of live plants, but also the installation of IoT-connected air sensors and monitoring systems.

Oxygen at Work first uses algorithms to analyse an office’s layout to find optimal plant placements depending on factors such as aesthetics, energy usage, CO2 reduction, and acoustics. Once in place, the company provides professional gardeners to maintain the plants, who visit the site regularly. Users also have access to a dashboard that tracks CO2 reductions and humidity levels, which can be optimised to minimise the spread of viruses.   

The company highlights several additional business benefits of its offer. First, its subscription model avoids high up-front costs. And the company’s OxygenX software provides further insights such as the optimum time to add ventilation to a space and for how long. These are based on more than five measures of indoor air quality such as carbon dioxide, particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, temperature, and humidity. This contrasts with older systems that rely on CO2 levels alone.

In the archive, Springwise has spotted other innovations looking to improve indoor air quality, including bioengineered plants for use at home and DIY air-filtration boxes.

Written By: Lisa Magloff and Matilda Cox



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