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Sustainable design: All-natural air purifier replaces filters with foliage

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An all-new air purifier, the ANDREA, accelerates the speed at which plants purify air to shape the future of sustainable design.

The technological innovation, new to the market this past month, marries style and function into one, all-natural air purifier. French designer Matthieu Lehanneur and Harvard Professor David Edward joined together to replace common carbon filtered air purifiers with house plants to eliminate noxious chemicals that pollute indoor air. The phenomenon works with any type of foliage.

"Inside ANDREA is a real, living plant," Tom Hadfield from ANDREA described in an exclusive interview with Inhabitat. "That plant, as we speak, is removing toxins from the air at a rate that is 1000% faster than the plant would be doing alone."

Since plants are nature’s air filtration system for the Earth, the pair figured they could utilize a plant's innate filtration process to rapidly and efficiently remove airborne toxins in a home. To achieve such a rapid rate, the device essentially accelerates a plant's ability purify. The polluted air is first brought in by a fan, then passed along the leaves, down to the roots, and into the first tray. The first stage is through the plants, the second through the soil, the third is the roots, and the final stage occurs in the water tray at the bottom of the purifier.

Then, finally, the air is filtered back into the room. The result is a phenomenon that rids pollutants from the air through the active infrastructure system of a plant, which continuously cleans and oxygenates the room. "This new technological innovation promotes an ecological living style," Hadfield said.

Not only is it cleaner and more sustainable, but it’s more effective. According to experiments performed by RTP Labs, ANDREA improves the efficiency of formaldehyde removal from the air relative to plants by 360%. When tested against traditional carbon filter air purifiers, RTP Labs data and literature data show an improvement in formaldehyde filtration efficiency of 4400%.

"So today people buy air purifiers, and then they go out and buy a vase," Hadfield said. "We think the future of air purification may be somewhere in between the two."

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