How to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
If you were to guess, where would you say air quality is the worst: outside, your work environment or your home? We recently became REGREEN certified and were shocked to learn the answer is your home. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air contains 2 to 5 times more contaminants than outdoor air and our homes are the worst offenders. This information is even more alarming considering the average American spends approximately 90 percent of their time indoors.
Perfumes, ducts, paints, carpets, adhesives, cleaners, flame retardants, formaldehyde and upholstery are just a few of the indoor air pollutants. Inadequate ventilation can also increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor pollutants. And high temperature and humidity levels can further worsen indoor air quality.
With asthma, autism and cancer rates dramatically increasing in recent years and evidence pointing towards air pollution as a factor, more and more focus is being placed on green construction and remodeling.
We recently became REGREEN Certified to better serve our clients. Now we’re trained in the principles of healthy and sustainable living and equipped to help you breathe easier in your own home. Here are just a few of the ways you can improve your indoor air quality.
The First Steps:
- Open windows as much as possible for air exchange.
- Add living plants, which filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs), to your home’s decor.
- Keep your home’s indoor humidity level between 30-50% with a dehumidifier to help control allergens.
- Paint with low or no VOC paints.
- Use eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaners.
- Use fragrance-free or naturally-scented laundry products.
- Do not use aerosol sprays including deodorants, hair sprays, carpet cleaners, furniture polish, and air fresheners.
- Minimize carpets and vacuum at least once a week.
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Install exhaust fans in your bathrooms for air exchange.
- Add a fresh air intake to your forced-air heating/cooling system’s ducting to allow fresh air to enter your home when you’re using exhaust fans.
- Replace carpeting with a non-absorptive type of flooring, such as wood, natural stone or bamboo.
- Select furniture and cabinetry made from green, nontoxic materials, such as urban salvage elm, recycled fir, FSC-certified plywood and formaldehyde-free medium-density fiberboard (MDF).
- Use formaldehyde-free insulation.
- Install a whole house fan system which brings stale indoor air upwards and out the top of the house through attic vents.
- Use a heat pump water heater to increase energy efficiency and improve indoor air quality due to moisture management.
Images: BGI Projects