If you’re one of those who fear the hardships of having to tend houseplants or consider them only necessary for those of us who can’t garden outside, you’ll be impressed by the non-botanist builders of the oldest LEED-platinum-certified building in the world (located in Buffalo), who not only don’t mind tending 1,000 indoor plants but also insist that they are necessary both for making nature a daily experience in all seasons and for their air purification qualities.
The building is the Ecology & Environment headquarters, built twenty years ago before LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards existed, and a model for sustainable practice well before they received the platinum status. I have to admit I was aware of E&E—I knew writers who did work for them—but hadn’t paid too much attention until I saw the pictures of the interior we’re using in the Green issue of the magazine I edit. “Geez,” I’m thinking, “Is this place an office or a terrarium?” In an article in the Buffalo paper today, the writer vaguely comments that if and when there is an infestation, “E&E brings in other bugs or natural predators to take care of the problem.” Wow. Sounds like a cool place to work. You can sit with the plants and watch the bugs fight.
E&E recently expanded the atrium where they keep many of the plants and were careful to choose those plants that would accept indoor conditions readily. Which means they’re the same old boring ivies (especially epipremnum aureum), pothos, and—yikes—spider plants (chlorophytum comosum) that you see in most offices. And sansevieria trifasciata as well, I see. But as boring as the individual cultivars might be, they look great mixed up, and especially in bulk. Though 1,000 still seems like a lot to take care of. So I feel vindicated. Think I’ll go out and buy some more pothos.
Photos by kc kratt.