Green Homes Provide Good Indoor Air AND Life Quality
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “indoor air pollutants is estimated to cause thousands of cancer deaths and hundreds of thousands of respiratory health problems each year.” On average, we spend about 90% of our time indoors and the air quality within the walls surrounding us is proving to be more dangerous than the pollutants outside. How could that be?
Indoor Air Pollutants
Well first of all, a house is made with industrial materials so that means contaminants, whether physical or biological are contained within these materials. Some examples of contaminants are formaldehyde released from wood products, dust mites, gases such as volatile organic compounds (VOC) found in paint, carbon monoxide from appliances, and radon. These contaminants, if not controlled and taken into consideration during building and remodeling projects, can cause major health problems for people and their pets ultimately causing disruption in the indoor life quality of a home.
Not to mention, us humans contribute a certain amount of toxins to our indoor environment daily such as air fresheners, chemical cleaners, and even cigarette smoke.
Assessing Your Own Home’s Air Quality
There are a few questions to ask yourself when assessing the quality of your own home’s air:
- Do you live near a highly urbanized area or city with high pollution?
- Do you or the other occupants of the home get sick often especially respiratory type illnesses?
- What is the age of the home?
- Has your home been recently renovated therefore exposed to contaminants from building materials and other outdoor allergens?
- What is the possibility of radon?
- Has the home ever had problems with mold or moisture control?
- Do you have an attached garage?
The best way to get an accurate account of the air quality in your home is to consult with a professional or use a service such as the Green Gauge from Green Built Alliance in Asheville. There are also test kits available online or at home improvement stores for measuring contaminants such as radon, mold, and VOC’s .
Benefits of a Green Home
Green building is improving indoor air quality by incorporating systems for dealing with moisture control and decreasing the exposure to indoor air pollutants resulting in an overall healthier home.
Standards are set to ensure that all certified ENERGYSTAR green homes be equipped with green approved appliances, materials and design practices all uniting to create an energy efficient, clean and healthy home. Some products used in green homes not found in other non certified green houses include indoor air quality exhaust fans for circulating fresh air from the outdoors in, low VOC or no VOC paints, using preventive rough in for future radon mitigation, and solvent free finishes and adhesives.
Another example that sets green homes apart from others is choosing the use of solar panels. When designing a new home or before adding solar panels to an existing, one must make sure the house is facing the proper direction for optimum sun exposure. Roof material also comes into consideration so be sure consult with the company who will be installing the panels.
Whether you find yourself curious about the quality of the air in your own home right now OR you find yourself preparing to build a new home and considering the possibility of going green – then know there are ways to make your home healthier by either testing and measuring your current situation with a professional or by designing for a green and ultimately healthier home by consulting with a certified green professional in your area. The fact is, green building is on the forefront of improving indoor air quality and indoor life quality for our benefit and comfort but also for the benefit of our outside environment as well