When someone says “air pollution,” is the picture that comes to mind cars spewing exhaust? Maybe smoke billowing out of a factory? Or is it smog hanging above a city? In all of these scenarios, the air pollution is outside, but recently more research has been done to understand what air pollution looks like inside. And it doesn’t look good.
On average, humans today spend 90% of their time indoors. (Ninety Percent!) We work inside. We workout inside. We eat, sleep, and socialize inside. Our light comes from artificial sources…inside.
A recent New Yorker article follows a group of scientists who are studying exactly what indoor air pollution looks like. It comes from gas stove igniters, cooking fumes, cleaning chemicals, body sprays, and particles tracked in when we enter from outside. This recipe of indoor pollutants is made worse by keeping windows and doors closed tight, which we often do in an attempt to keep heat either in or out of our homes. When indoor climates also have excess moisture, the climate is ripe for mold and other insidious invaders, making our indoor air quality up to 5x more toxic than the outdoor air we’d presumed to be more hazardous.
Since we’ve imagined air pollution to exist in the outdoors for so long, our indoor spaces have come to be seen as healthy havens free from the most dangerous contaminants. Yet turning on the stove to cook or taking a long relaxing bath are not innocent activities. They in turn affect the indoor air quality – the air you are breathing 90% of the time.
Here at BrightBuilt Home, part of our tag-line reads “You can breathe clean air,” and we’re not kidding about that. All BrightBuilt homes are designed with air exchange systems, which effectively means the home is equipped with a healthy set of lungs that breathe out the toxins of your home and breathe in filtered fresh air. Historically, homes have relied on draftiness around windows, doors, and through chimneys for the inside air to exchange with the outside air. For anyone living in a home of older vintage, one can only imagine what that air is passing by before reaching the interior spaces, and next, our lungs.
High-performance homes are thoughtfully and well-crafted objects unto themselves. Walls are tight and insulated, along with close-fit windows and doors. This allows for ventilation to be more focused and controlled. There aren’t unexpected holes that air can enter and exit. Heat Recovery Ventilators and Energy Recovery Ventilators control the filtration and ventilation of air in both directions for a more streamlined and clean exchange of air.
We have designed our homes to be places that invigorate, spaces that feel fresh, and rooms that quell allergies or asthma rather than induce them. Plenty of sources of natural light and warmth from the sun help foster a strong visual and emotional connection to the outdoors, while the efficient heating, cooling and air exchange systems maintain thermal comfort. Home should be somewhere you feel happy and comfortable, not worried about toxins in the air. Cooking is going to happen. Baths should be a luxurious and calming experience. In a BrightBuilt home, you can do this and more, all while breathing good, clean air.
To learn more about how a home constructed using sustainable building practices can keep your indoor air clean and healthy, read our free Introductory Guide to Building a Green Home in New England.