Air Pollution In Your Home
Heating and cooling systems account for the largest percentage
of energy used in homes.
Through sustainable home design and low allergen and low toxic
materials, the need for air conditioning and air purification systems
In addition to the toxins emitted from building materials and finishings,
some mechanical heating and cooling systems still use refrigerants
which are damaging to the ozone layer. Ensure that you always specify
the use of refrigerants with an Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP)
of zero and a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of less than 10.
Air pollution can be attributed as a major cause of climate change,
smog, acid rain and ozone depletion. Together, these are a serious
threat to both the environment and our health.
In the UK, air pollution is responsible for around 32,000 deaths
every year from asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory
diseases. Thousands more requiring hospital treatment for allergies,
headaches, ear and nose infections, and immune depressive disorders.
The main air pollutants are:
- Carbon monoxide
- Carbon dioxide
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
- Nitrogen oxide
- Sulphur dioxide
- Volatile organic compounds [VOC]
- Particulate matter
These pollutants are emitted from:
- The burning of carbon-based materials such as wood and fossil
fuels (coal, oil and natural gas).
- Industrial and chemical processes from manufacturing and construction,
waste incineration, military operations, and agriculture.
- Motorised vehicle emissions
Indoor Air Pollution
Air pollution does not remain outdoors. Poor ventilation can result
in concentration [up to 60% more] of pollutants indoors. This poses
a significant risk to human health.
in addition, conventional building materials and furnishings emit
formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals which add to the toxic load.
- Household cleaning products
- Stoves and fireplaces - emit carbon monoxide and smoke particulates.
- Biological pollutants - dust mites and moulds.
Managing Home Air Quality
Governments are committed to reducing air pollution, with 'Clean
Air Acts' demanding companies to citizens to reduce toxic emmissions
within their businesses and homes.
Reducing home air pollution can be achieved by:
- Using low toxic building materials
- Using low toxic cleaning products
- Installing environmentally friendly heating systems
- Providing good ventilation - especially in bathrooms and kitchens
- Avoiding moisture build up to prevent moulds and dust mites
- Installing air purification systems
- Reducing inorganic waste
- Reducing emmissions from vehicles through efficient tuning,
modern car technology and using public or shared transport where
Reducing air pollution is a world-wide initiative. With countries
like China making massive increases to pollution and showing little
remorse for doing so, it is up to the rest of the world to set a
better example and continue to apply pressure to non-ecofriendly
nations to become more environmentally responsible.
Next: Moisture Control
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