Futura Interiors

The World of Design at Your Fingertips

Indoor Air Quality

By Melody Saradpon

In this day and age, the design industry has intensely focused on “sustainability” and becoming “green”. Many of our efforts have been revolving around the exterior environment and restoring our natural resources; however, in doing so, we have also neglected another important environment: indoors! The majority of Americans spend approximately 85-90% of their time indoors, where the USEPA (also known as the United States Environmental Protection Agency) have stated that indoor air pollutant rates are almost 5x higher than outdoor pollution. This statistic is not a simple scare tactic–about 23 million  of people suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory ailments; it has been proven that indoor pollutants contribute to these illnesses.

Many of our common household items and surfaces emit toxic fumes (also known as VOCs: volatile organic compounds), which negatively affect our health; cleaners, solvents, paints, and even wood furnishings are just a few examples. While extensively fool-proofing your home or office may be too costly or unrealistic, there are a few methods that can help increase indoor air quality:

– Ventilation & Filtration: Most interiors have a ventilation system that helps circulate outdoor air indoors to maintain a comfortable and clean atmosphere. Maintaining a clean HVAC system, as well as installing clean filters to catch airborne toxins, such as dust, mold, and asbestos. In addition, make sure you utilize windows and other exterior openings to bring in more outdoor air to break up concentrated toxins indoors.

– Source Control: This method is considered the most effective in increasing indoor air quality for a home; you can reduce the amount volatile compounds by including more plants indoors, or by stashing all of your cleaners/solvents/paints in an outdoor shed or garage, as opposed to storing them under the kitchen or bathroom sink (which can affect your water!).

Being mindful of the air we breathe–indoors and outdoors–makes for happier and healthier human beings!

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