Healthier New Home Design
Most of us spend a large percentage of our lives indoors so it is worth thinking more closely about air quality in our homes. This blog briefly discusses home design and the greatest source of indoor air pollutants with the possible associated health conditions. It provides advice and two steps that you can take to protect the health of people living in your home. It will also help you make better informed decisions about health and indoor air quality issues when discussing a new building project or renovation with your builder or building material supplier.
Poor indoor air quality may produce a range of health effects from mild and generally non-specific symptoms such as headaches, tiredness or lethargy, to more severe effects such as aggravation of asthma and allergic responses.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Good design and orientation can encourage breezes and convection currents to draw stale air out and fresher air in. If windows are closed to maintain comfortable room temperatures, than the air will become stale, humidity will rise, levels of dust mites will increase and aerial born viruses will develop. Generally, the greater the amount of pollutant (exposure), the greater the health impact. The duration of exposure is also important: if low-level exposure occurs over a long period of time (perhaps many years) the total dose may be large.
Two Steps to Better Air Quality
Eliminate — Identify the source of air problems and wherever possible eliminate through better product selection and design.
Ventilate — If too little fresh air enters a home, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Ventilate the home to remove these.
One way to achieve these two steps is to insulate your home to reduce the need for artificial cooling. This will allow windows to be open while maintaining the same level of comfort. The correct style of construction will not only create a healthier home, it will also conserve energy and reduce your electricity bill.
What you do in the home design stage can make the single biggest difference to the health of the indoor environment!