We have started a pioneering partnership with academics from Staffordshire University which we believe will help both our existing and future customers better understand how well-managed green planted spaces can enhance wellbeing and help to solve social and environmental problems.
From improving mental health and reducing crime to improving air quality, the issues that the installation of a well-designed green space can resolve are diverse. In order to put these benefits on a more scientific footing, we, along with Staffordshire University, are asking clients – whether from the private or public sector – to come up with suggestions of what areas they would like investigating. Scientists from the university will then work with the client and us to research the precise benefits that these intelligently designed green spaces can bring to a particular area, for example building insulation, employee attendance rates or an improvement in general human well-being.
Clients will then have some scientific data that will enable them to fully grasp the problems that green spaces can help them solve.
Research by Staffordshire University is already under way and scientists are conducting a study which is investigating how successfully carefully designed green spaces influence biodiversity, improve building insulation and capture microscopic pollutants, thereby improving air quality and human health.
The current research being completed at Staffordshire University will help to provide more information on how pollutants known as PM10s – particulate matter that is less than 10 microns in diameter – are absorbed by plants. The reduction of PM10 levels is a focus of policy for the Department for Transport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The three-year research study, which is in its final year, is being carried out by PhD student under the supervision of two Professors at the University. A variety of sophisticated scientific techniques and instruments are being used to understand the nature of a green space’s interaction with particulate matter, including an environmental scanning electron microscope, which is used to establish the size of particles that are trapped by plants. Once complete, the research is due to be published in a number of international peer-reviewed journals.
Through an on-going partnership with the university, we hope we will bring similar scientific rigour to research into the other benefits of carefully planned and maintained green spaces.