Have you ever stopped to think about how we are immersed in air every minute of the day? Whether you’re cooking in the kitchen, asleep in your bedroom, or sitting at your work desk, your health depends on the air you are breathing. However, indoor air quality is often overlooked, especially compared to concerns about what's in our food and water.
It was not long ago that we spent most of our time outside. Our lifestyle has evolved dramatically and the average person now spends 90% of their time inside! Unfortunately, indoor air is far more polluted than outdoor air and since no governing body can regulate air in our homes, it is up to us to improve the air inside. Amazing as it sounds, indoor air can be five to ten times more polluted than outdoor air as stated by WebMD! This is because there's a lack of ventilation, so contaminants build up and stagnant air is re-circulated.
Air quality is extremely important, yet for all the pollution you're exposed to outdoors, your indoor air quality is probably even worse! Common chemical pollutants are actually higher inside homes than outside of them. Scientists are beginning to suspect that indoor pollutants may be partly responsible for rising rates of asthma.
Poor indoor air is linked to both short term and long term health problems. Those particularly vulnerable to indoor pollutants include infants, the elderly, and people who already suffer with compromised immune systems. Indoor pollution has been known to cause headaches, flu-like symptoms, and even neurological problems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one of the top five greatest environmental risks to public health and well-being is poor indoor air quality.
If you are building or renovating, you have the opportunity to create better ventilation in your home. Plan to include windows and doors that open up vast areas of space for plenty of fresh air ventilation.
Installing windows that let in good ventilation is the first step to improving your indoor air quality. All openable windows will give ventilation, but some window designs allow faster transfer of fresh air into the home.
Mercola points out that air quality in a building is the result of a continuous competition between the pollutants and the ventilation system. Since we have been making our homes more energy efficient, there is an unexpected negative side effect - increased air contamination because of reduced air exchange. To combat this, the simplest step is to open the windows and doors to let the fresh air in! Opening up large areas of your living space with a bi-fold door or sliding door is a great way to improve your air quality quickly.
So windows do even more for us than letting in light or capturing a view. They help us live in a healthy environment. If you are building or renovating, visit our window planning section on our website to help plan your home environment. And remember, It’s easy to keep your family healthier just from the simple step of letting in fresh air every day!
Image by Breezeway, Windows by Wideline.