#561: Plantplan

Plants seem to have all sorts of positive effects within working environments…it’s really not clear why, but provision and maintenance of such greenery is a massive business. Good gardeners can usually tell what plant to place where by intuition. Many shrubs have a very strong preference for suprisingly specific lighting conditions. This can make the difference between abundant, verdant leaf growth and an etiolated, parched stick. With the cost of plants quite high, it’s increasingly necessary not to have them just defoliate. I’m also sure having a corporate foyer full of dead leaves negatively affects the share price.

Today’s invention is a way to ensure that plants are optimally tuned to the local light levels within buildings.

Start with an architect’s ray-tracing model of a future (or existing) building to compute light intensities everywhere within a space. Link this to a horticultural database containing the detailed lighting requirements of a wide variety of candidate plants. Even if these data are not always available, it would be possible to generate more by having people in the plants’ countries of origin make measurements beside healthy examples (this might be done using a small array of photographic equipment). Then, each spot in an office could have a list of plants, happy to live there, drawn up.

This might be further refined by reference to an aesthetic model which would calculate what would be flowering when and avoid unfortunate juxtapositions of eg yellow and bluish petals.

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