Indoor Air Quality Is a Key Component of Green Buildings
- by Emily Newton
- 2022-09-21 00:00:00
Whether you’re a DIY professional or a veteran of the home improvement industry, the green movement cannot be ignored in modern construction. Builders consider numerous elements when creating an eco-friendly structure, but one of the nonnegotiables is indoor air quality.
Knowing how air enters the space and how the building elements manage its quality is foundational in nurturing a healthy and eco-friendly structure. The objectives are to create cleaner buildings, help humans be healthier and make the planet a better place. Here are several things builders should keep in mind when going green in design and construction.
How Does Indoor Air Quality Improve Green Buildings?
Air pollution is an ongoing concern, especially smog in major cities and buildings that work in polluting industries. Green structures mitigate the adverse effects of toxic particulates in the air.
Removing the existing pollutants will not entirely fix the issue — it is more about consistent maintenance than a one-time cleaning. Creating greener structures and ensuring they have excellent indoor air quality acts as preventive care for the building and the planet.
Indoor air quality is a crucial component of eco-friendly construction because it affects every other green aspect of the building, like branches on a tree. It helps keep the green technology, building materials and people inside to obtain optimal health.
Any company can use guidelines offered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Green Building Council (WGBC), as they provide a strong foundation for improving air quality in sustainable design:
- Raising awareness of how other structural aspects of buildings contribute to and amplify air quality
- Educating how retrofitting and using quality construction materials help green buildings have cleaner air
- Encouraging greener solutions to fight air pollutants and minimizing the threats from existing contaminants
- Protecting building occupants by regulating humidity and purifying particulates for optimal safety and decreasing the spread of disease
- Ensuring buildings can filter outside air entering the structure
Some well-known sources of air contaminants include tobacco, combustion processes in HVAC equipment and cleaning products. Removing stimuli such as these will continue to heighten the air quality. More airtight construction and energy-conscious equipment could decrease the 40% health risk Americans have from polluted air.
What Resources Achieve Clean Air?
Achieving crisp indoor air is executable through high-quality tools and sustainable design. Not every method is necessary to employ all at once — but the more resources used, the better the outcome.
Proper ventilation is a good portion of the battle. There must be a balance of outside air entering that prevents pollutants from accumulating. If there is technology to filter out harmful contaminants, maintaining the quality indoors simplifies itself.
To create optimal air quality for employees, families or students, consider the following tools to do the heavy lifting:
- Portable breathing air cases: It’s not always about keeping the air safe in an entire building. Sometimes, construction requires working with chemical products or fine abrasives. This means the air quality you breathe must be clean while working.
- Breathing air panels: These are for added benefit in confined areas like paint booths. They provide better airflow for workers to succeed and breathe easily.
- Breathing air modules: Go the extra mile and focus on carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in addition to standard air particulates. Install detectors if you haven’t already for carbon monoxide as well.
- High-quality HVAC system: It seems like a no-brainer, but many components go into an ethical, energy-efficient HVAC that effectively cleans your building’s air.
Other resources a builder can use are VOC-free paints, which contain no volatile organic compounds that would release chemicals into the air. Choosing hardwood over carpeting is best for flooring since dust and other air-polluting particulates hide in fibrous materials.
There are also plenty of tools to avoid. Pseudoscience markets are trying to convince builders to purchase more tools than needed for sustainable builds, thanks to the rise in awareness around air quality since COVID-19. Research everything as thoroughly as possible to ensure third parties and research-based evidence back them.
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