The Connection Between Indoor Air Quality and Sustainability
With the rise of green building certification programs and increasing awareness around sustainability, new construction projects are increasingly focused on energy usage and indoor air quality. As a result, many buildings are now incorporating sustainable features that improve indoor air quality.
In general, indoor air quality, or IAQ, is a measure of the air in a building and its impact on human health. Specifically, it refers to the concentration of contaminants or dangerous gases inside a building as opposed to outside air. The standard for acceptable IAQ varies depending on the type of building. But in general, any location with a high risk of exposure to contaminants should implement systems that improve indoor air quality as part of their sustainability efforts.
To optimize the indoor air quality of your new custom or renovated home, you must understand how the quality of your indoor air relates to the sustainability of the materials you use. Let us explain the connection, along with the options you have, from a professional custom home builder point of view.
What Constitutes Good Indoor Air Quality In Your Home?
When people think about IAQ, they often focus on the contaminants in the air. But IAQ is more than just the air in your home. IAQ must also include factors like humidity, CO2 levels, UV light exposure, and noise pollution. When evaluating IAQ, it’s important to consider what is normal for your specific environment.
People in warm, humid climates will experience different IAQ issues than those in cold, dry places. Here in California, we often have heat to contend with, but that is not all that can pollute the air quality in our home. Outside factors, such as smoke from wildfires, can drastically increase the contaminants in our homes. Inside factors, such as pets and sprays, can have the same type of effect.
Many people are unaware that the materials they build or renovate their homes with can also lead to poor air quality. Items such as paints, carpeting, and solvents can also give off contaminants which pollute the air. Opting for sustainable building materials can cut these pollutants, improving the quality of air within your home.
How Sustainability Can Improve the Quality of Air
Indoor air quality is one of the most important aspects of a sustainable building. But what exactly does this mean? Indoor air pollution is a serious public health issue. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that poor indoor air pollution causes thousands deaths each year in the United States. No one wants to think of their home as a danger to anyone in the family. That is why using sustainable, high-quality building materials is vital to ensuring the best quality of air possible within your home.
Identifying Reasons for Low IAQ
There are many reasons why indoor air quality may be low. Some factors, like soil gases, are inherent to certain geographical areas. Other issues, like improper ventilation, come from human error. Even if your existing home was designed with sustainability in mind, you might still have issues with indoor air pollution.
IAQ is a measure of the air inside the building as opposed to outside air. These factors can negatively impact indoor air quality:
- Excessive dust or allergens in your home
- Pet dander
- Poor quality building materials
- Tobacco use
- Chemicals in common products
- New paint
- Treated fabrics, such as upholstery
- Moisture issues
Sustainability and Indoor Air Quality Together
Using green building practices when building a home can significantly improve indoor air quality by incorporating sustainable features like insulation and ventilation that filters the air. In fact, the highest level of green building certification requires that indoor air quality be monitored and maintained.
The connection between indoor air quality and sustainability goes both ways. Improving indoor air quality can help make sustainable buildings more effective, while adding sustainable features to your existing building can improve your indoor air quality.
One of the most important ways to combat indoor air pollution is through ventilation. Ventilation actively cleanses the air in your building, pulling any contaminants out and replacing them with fresh air from outdoors. However, it is vital to note that using the right materials and avoiding specific products can go a long way towards keeping the quality of air optimally maintained.
You Can Improve the IAQ of Older Homes
If you live in an older home, you may be concerned about your indoor air quality. If so, you aren’t alone. In fact, poor indoor air quality in older homes is likely the leading cause of indoor pollution.
Because older homes aren’t built to current standards, they tend to have less effective air filtration systems. As a result, indoor air pollution is much more likely in homes built before the 1980s.
If you’re living in an older home, one of the best options you have for improving the quality of air in your home is to renovate. Here at Conrado Home Builders, our team helps renovate older homes regularly to improve the quality of life people have in them.
We can remove old, dangerous products when we deconstruct the portions of the home we renovate. From there, we can use high-quality, sustainable building materials that will not off-gas in your home. What you get is a home that is safe for you and your family to live in, with IAQ that you can trust will not make anyone sick.
Start with the Right Home to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
When you improve the air inside your homes, you also improve the air outside. By reducing indoor air pollution, you reduce the amount of pollution that is emitted into the natural environment. This helps keep our planet clean and healthy and provides a better environment for all of us to live in.
To renovate an old home for upgrades such as improved air quality, or to begin a new custom home that is safe from the start, contact the professionals at Conrado Home Builders. We know sustainability as well as we know how to build homes that last a lifetime. Why not get the process started today, so your lifetime in your healthy home can get started?