Though hidden to the naked eye, the power of indoor air quality should never be underestimated. Poor air quality can trigger some serious health consequences. Delos Living states that air pollution is the 5th leading cause of mortality and can have a critical impact on chronic respiratory diseases, digestive issues, and fatigue, to name a few.
However, treating the air in your home mindfully comes with serious wellness perks. A better night’s rest, enhanced complexion, and improved health are some of the many benefits that go hand-in-hand with good air quality. Who could say no to that?!
It has always been a BEYOND priority to create beautiful designs with sustainable, healthy living in mind. Now more than ever, we are spending every day indoors and want to do our part to ensure spaces are as beautiful and health-conscious as possible. So we’ve developed an easy checklist with some of the best ways to improve your home’s air quality and reap the many benefits that follow!
PLANTS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND
Remember being outside? Inhaling the crisp air and instantly feeling revitalized. Houseplants are the easiest way to replicate this feeling. Not only does bringing the great outdoors, indoors create a serene, green oasis, but our leafy friends also have natural air purifying qualities.
No need to stress if the green thumb gene skipped you. There is a range of low maintenance houseplants to brighten your space and feed your lungs. What’s more, they can easily land at your doorstep with these effortless botanical designs or this white glove house plant delivery service. Some plants that clean air and pack a design-punch include sleek, modern snake plants, statement fiddle figs, the edgy dracaenas!
CHANGE HVAC FILTERS REGULARLY
There are several factors to consider when changing your HVAC filters. Depending on the type of filter, fiberglass options are more economical but need to be replaced approximately every 30 days. Experts estimate better quality, pleated air filters should be switched out every three to six months. Why change out these filters, you may ask?
MINDFUL DESIGN CHOICES BENEFIT AIR QUALITY
There are several decisions that can be made by interior designers to improve air quality without sacrificing a home’s look and feel. Reduce air pollution with low-VOC paint and formaldehyde-free cabinets, minimize dust and allergens with hardwood flooring. Add texture and warmth without trapping in more dust, dirt and chemicals with organic, non-toxic bedding and wool rugs.
INVEST IN THE BEST TOOLS
Keeping your home’s air fresh does not need to look sterile or medical. Modern home purifiers and humidifiers can get the job done without spoiling the style and ambiance of your space. We’ve already done the legwork to identify a few favorites, including the Dyson humidifier and purifier, Noma air purifier, and Missed Global humidifiers.
ALLOW FRESH AIR INSIDE YOUR HOME EVERY DAY
Pull aside those gorgeous curtains and crack open those windows. This is the simplest, cost-free option to push the stale air out and make room for a fresh breeze. If the weather does allow for this option, it’s pollen season or maybe you live in a metropolis, invest in the neighboring checklist items. Improved air quality is calling!
According to a study by Delos, a wellness-design innovations company, we spend 90% of our time indoors, with two-thirds of that time spent at home. Due to the current, global health situation, we're occupying our residential spaces even more. Because of that, it's vital our homes promote our health and overall wellbeing. In this blog, we'll cover the most important elements to focus on inside your home, while also providing healthy solutions to improve the quality of your space.
We typically think of air pollutants existing outdoors, but research shows concentrations of allergins, toxins, and pollutants can be up to five times higher indoors. Poor air quality can greatly impact our health. While short-term effects include respiratory irritation, long-term adverse effects include increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung cancers, and other respiratory issues. Therefore, the level of air pollutants in our everyday spaces is vitally important.
Thankfully, a movement of wellness-inspired design solutions has swept over the design community. While we're all familiar with air purifiers and their function, the technology has rapidly advanced in sophistication and sleekness. Samsung's Cube Air Purifier, for example, uses a laser-monitoring system to provide real-time air quality measurements. Always reading the room's conditions, it adapts to and improves the air in its given space.
It's true that Americans benefit from better-quality drinking water than other countries. Our water treatment infrastructure, however, is aging and deteriorating, leading it to receive a grade "D" by the American Society of Civil Engineers in their most recent report. Additionally, the EPA has estimated that US water infrastructure needs over $734 billion in improvements.
As our systems break down, water contaminants increase. In just the past five years, nearly 77 million Americans lived in communities whose water systems violated at least one Safe Drinking Water Act rule, with over 88,000 total violations.
To help people take control of their water contaminant levels, many companies are offering professional-grade water filtration systems. Brondell, for example, offers an under-the-counter reverse osmosis (RO) water filter system that features a four-step filtering process that's 10x more efficient than typical RO systems. Award-winning Australian company, Zip, has developed a tap-system that provides instant purified chilled, boiling, and sparkling water.
Working or studying from home doesn't necessarily mean you'll be spending more time inside. However, with many businesses closing to accommodate social distancing, the need or reason to leave one's home has decreased. This could, indirectly, cause people to stay indoors more than usual. With that in mind, we need to be aware of our space's quality of light.
As discussed in a previous blog, lighting has a huge impact on our overall wellbeing. It affects our sleep patterns, our mood, our stress levels. That's why it's essential our inside spaces receive as much natural light — or light mimicking natural conditions — as possible during this time.
Top-of-the-line, smart home light integrations — like Delos's Darwin circadian lighting and Ketra's human-centric dynamic lights — mirror natural light patterns. These do require more advanced installations (and we highly recommend them for future projects), but the Eria smart lightbulb kit can be implemented right away. As featured in our Healthy Design: Lighting blog, this smart kit allows users to activate a circadian light setting and the Color Rendering Index (CRI) of these bulbs is 90+. (CRI measures the color an object looks under artificial light in contrast to natural light, with a 90+ rating deemed as "excellent" light.)
By now, we've probably all given our homes a scrub down (or two) and we're definitely more conscious about the surfaces we touch when arriving home. With that said, many of us will neglect cleaning the cleaning tools themselves, leaving us exposed to unwanted contaminants. For that reason, we recommend touchless cleaning solutions.
Typically, we don't think of touchless hand dryers or paper towel dispensers in the home. In fact, touchless soap dispensers just recently joined hand-sensor trashcans as semi-common household products. Appliances like these, however, can make all the difference when trying to keep a sanitized home.
Robot vacuums and mops can also be great solutions. Our daily habits and cleaning routine have already changed so much, so if there's a tool out there that can operate on a consistent schedule (giving you one less thing to think about) take advantage of it!
CHECK OUT OUR
HEALTHY DESIGN: CLEANING SUPPLIES BLOG!
As stated earlier, we spend 90% of our lives inside, and 66% of that time at home. So no matter the situation, it's important your home promotes healthiness. If it seems like too many solutions to implement on your own, no worries! We're here to help.