Guard Your Family’s Health by Building Green

February 14th, 2011 | General

Feeling good is a common theme in today’s society. It’s what New Year’s resolutions are hinged upon: To eat more fruits and vegetables, to exercise more or to take more vitamins. But for all the care, concern, time and money that goes into people making their personal health a priority, did you realize that one of the most common sources of a number of health ailments is poor indoor air quality? From aggravating your allergies and reducing your productivity to causing more serious health problems such as cancer, cardiovascular stress and liver and kidney damage, poor indoor air quality can drag your health down so much that all your other live well efforts may be for naught. Read on to see why poor indoor air quality occurs, and how building a green home can help you feel your best in 2011.

Why It Happens

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor pollutant levels may be up to 10 times higher than outdoor levels. This poor air quality results from traditional building designs that contain inadequate ventilation, which allows mold to fester that can trigger allergic reactions and asthma. These buildings also often contain chemical contaminants, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are both naturally occurring and synthetic. VOCs release vapors at room temperature and are especially found in wood paneling, particleboard, carpets, paints, glues, finishes and solvents. Initial exposure to VOCs can cause headaches, eye irritation and chronic coughing, as well as memory loss, fatigue and depression. With unusually high or prolonged exposure to VOCs such as formaldehyde, people face an increased risk of cancer. These health problems that result from poor indoor air quality affect millions of Americans each year.

Benefits of Building a Green Home

The indoor air pollution in a green home is significantly reduced because of careful selection of building materials, including carpets, paints, interior finishes and wall coverings, which are produced with no toxic chemicals. Green building products don’t contain formaldehyde and often include natural sources such as linoleum, cork and cellulose insulation. During the design and construction process proper heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are installed to provide adequate ventilation and air filtration, so that mold does not have a chance to form.  The superior air quality in green buildings is estimated to save up to $48 billion annually in healthcare costs.