eFIG raising awareness of being green

Late spring and early summer is full of relevant special days and weeks to raise awareness of things close to eFIG members’ hearts.

We’ve seen Earth Hour and Earth Day come and go when the aim is to raise awareness of our earth, what it means to us and how we can save it! At the beginning of May there was Green Office Week when the focus was all about being green personally and at the office.

The end of last month saw Noise Action Week when we are asked to think about ways to manage noise especially where it is a problem.

World Environment Day has just passed; it’s an annual special day to raise awareness of the environment we live in which always falls on 5th June. Of course although this day has been nominated caring for our environment isn’t a ‘one day solution’. So we have asked our members to remind their clients in the coming weeks about the benefits of having plants around.

eFIG as the association of interior landscapers knows about greening work spaces and thinking ecologically; our members are all aware of the benefits plants bring to our everyday and working lives and how to be green in our own businesses and help other business be greener using plants.

For instance one of our members was involved with Sky’s Rooftop Rainforest which was installed on top of Westfield Shopping Centre in time for Earth Hour (26 March) when businesses all over London (and elsewhere) were encouraged to switch off the lights for an hour to mark the day. The idea being that only solar powered lights from the Rooftop Rainforest would be visible.

During Earth Hour lights went out all over the world; in 5,251 cities, in 135 countries affecting 1.8 billion people. A symbolic achievement and a great energy saving even switching off lights for just one hour!

Green Office Week is sponsored by Avery Office Products and has a daily regime to help office workers get greener. eFIG members became GOW ambassadors and promoted plants for greening offices whilst many of our members have taken personal business steps to be greener themselves – some even winning awards for it!

The steps range from becoming Planet Positive, instigating a paperless community and encouraging clients to do the same, to being awarded a Green Mark Accreditation for their recognised environmental Responsibility. One member even won a local Green Initiative Award and a recommendation for their recycling efforts.

In an era when the future of our planet is in question, there seems to be no harm in attempting to ‘do your bit’ for the environment. When it comes to plants just remember that we rely on them for a lot, something which is easy to forget in our technological age.

Perhaps the most important thing we rely on them for is oxygen. Famous researcher Dr Bill Wolverton who worked for NASA explains, “Oxygen is vital to all organisms that require oxygen for respiration. The living processes of animals would deplete the atmosphere of oxygen if it were not replenished by photosynthesis. Life supporting oxygen is produced by plants…”

Indoors plants refresh the air we breathe with oxygen whilst they absorb any toxins in the air. The toxins are a chemical mix of emissions from man made materials but also from us!

By keeping the air clean, plants help to keep us healthier reducing symptoms such as headaches, blocked sinuses, dry skin etc and also keeping our sick days to a minimum. Where plants are seriously used to ensure the air is kept clean, they reduce the need for air conditioning too saving energy costs.

Plants work really well as barriers in large open plan offices at the same time helping to reduce noise – plants absorb, deflect and diffract sound – and they can be very useful for this especially where the floor surfaces are hard rather than carpeted.

For more information about greening your work environment check out plant benefits at www.efig.eu.com.