How To Grow Your Own Clean Air

Wildfires. Mudslides. Frigid temperatures. Blazing heat. Whatever is keeping you indoors this season, it’s nice to know you can make your lungs happier by home-growing some clean air.

Which Plants Should I Use to Grow Clean Air?

All plants help: in general all green leafy plants produces O2, or oxygen. Lots of people are under the impression that plants “inhale” carbon dioxide and then “exhale” oxygen.  Thanks to this clever article we learn that the oxygen plants exhale comes from H2O, or water.

But enough about the science, let’s get to the action. We were inspired by this TED talk by Mr. Kamal Meattle who, through office plants, created measurably cleaner air using the following plants:

  1. Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
  2. Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Sansevieria triasciata)
  3. Money Plant (Epipremnum aureum)



How Many Plants Do I Need?

In Mr. Kamal Meattle’s office space, they have over 1,200 plants for 300 building occupants. That might be a bit much for your space. Use what works for you. Try starting out with one of each.  If you like them, you can always propagate a new plant from the existing ones by plucking off a section and putting it in a new pot. Plants are amazing like that.

What do I need to do to care for my plant?

The following three basic ingredients go into growing plants (except for the epiphyte class of plants which grow in air).

  1. Water. Water your plants regularly. For some, “regularly” means once each week. For others, “regularly” means twice each month, say, on the 1st and 15th of every month. Figure out what works for you to remember. Water until the soil is moist and be sure there is a catcher underneath the plant to catch the extra water that runs through. Your soil should never be soggy; aim for a happy medium the consistency of a damp sponge.
  2. Light. Pay attention to light. These plants are hearty: they can sit in full sun as well as dark corners, and everything inbetween. Put your plant where it makes sense for your space and see how it does.
  3. Soil. Plants like good soil. We of course recommend Harvest’s Organic Potting Mix because it offers a nice blend of nutrients and water holding capacity.

PRO TIP: when swapping containers don’t increase the size of the pot drastically; in general aim for 1-2” intervals of increases in pots. So, for example, if you have a 6″ pot, don’t jump all the way up to a 12″ pot; instead go to a 8″ pot.

In addition to growing your own clean air, houseplants also create a sense of nature. They add a peaceful element to any space. Plants make a great gift — for the mind and body.

What is your favorite type of plant for your home or office?

Rethink Methane: Getting Above the Crust

rethinkmethane-header-logo-logistics-850x100The “Rethink Methane: Removing the Fossil from the Fuel” conference in Sacramento hosted leading policymakers and businesses to discuss a key ingredient to a sustainable future: methane.  Historically we’ve used “prehistoric” methane created millions of years ago. It is time to shift to “contemporary” or “renewable” methane made in current-day times via the treatment of wastewater, organic waste, and other biological feedstocks.

DSC_1889 Chris Kasper at Rethink MethaneWhat we know:

  • Methane is a critical energy resource and will continue to be for the foreseeable future
  • Methane is also a powerful greenhouse gas, and reducing emissions of methane is central to any strategy to address climate protection
  • CA has recognized the importance of reducing methane emissions, and has laid out a strategy to do so in the recently published Proposed Short Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy
  • As the vast majority of the state’s methane emissions come from the decay of organic matter, in order to achieve a significant reduction in the contribution of methane to the state’s GHG inventory, these biological sources of methane need to be captured, harnessed and beneficially reused

The challenge that we face is how to, in the face of historically low fossil gas prices, develop a system of policies, programs and incentives that help address the legal and regulatory barriers that impede the development of renewable gas resources and encourage the production and consumption of this valuable energy resource in CA.

DSC_1916 Chris Kasper and Mary Nichols at Rethink MethaneThis is the purpose of Rethink Methane – to explore the impediments to harnessing renewable gas – the fugitive emissions of which have been identified as a major contributor to climate change – and to identify the actions that CA policymakers can and should take to discourage fugitive emissions, encourage beneficial reuse, encourage the substitution of renewable gas for fossil gas as much as possible, and encourage the substitution of renewable gas for fossil diesel wherever possible.

Highlight of the Day: Harvest CEO Chris Kasper introducing the “Queen of Green” and Chair of the California Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols.