House plants are natural air filters. They take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen and can even extract toxins from the air, if you set them up the right way. As we saw recently, several research groups are working on home ventilation systems that integrate plants, promising a future where air purifiers leverage the best nature has to offer.
Something like that future is already here. The Andrea–a product that’s available on Amazon or at Bed Bath & Beyond–already combines plants for air cleaning. Using a simple fan, it passes air over plant leaves, through soil and roots, and out over a water tray, purifying all the way.
See how it works in this video from Inhabitat:
The Andrea grew out of an experiment by French designer Matthew Lehanneur and Harvard professor David Edwards. Now commercialized, the company claims it purifies 1,000% more effectively than an ordinary houseplant.
“Today people buy air purifiers and then they go out and buy a vase,” says Hadfield, in the film. “We think the future of indoor air purification may be somewhere in between those two.”