Some 17 years ago, Kamal Meattle SM ’67 was dying. He had become allergic to New Dehi’s air and his lung capacity was down to 70 percent. His doctors offered little hope.

Areca palm, one of three air-enhancing plants.

Areca palm, one of three air-enhancing plants.

Rather than desert his home town, he turned his environmental interests into life-saving work. He established the Paharpur Business Centre and Software Technology Incubator Park, which provides offices and services for growing businesses—and some of the cleanest air in the megacity.

In a recent TED video, Meattle describes how his green business was built through air-filtering plants and sustainable architecture. He shares research that documents reduced health problems and energy consumption while increasing productivity through the use of just three types of common plants, which you can grow in your own home or office. He’s now looking at larger experiments designed to reshape India’s commercial building ecology.