Indoor Air Quality

Back to Green Building

Indoor Air Quality refers to the quality of air within the home in regards to the health and comfort of the home’s residents.  

 

 

Issues resulting from Poor Indoor Air Quality:


  • Short-term effects-- Eye and throat irritation, headaches, coughing, sneezing, fatigue
  • Long-term effects-- Respiratory disease and cancer; some gases, such as formaldehyde, found at high levels in buildings with poor air quality, are known carcinogens.
  • Asthma jumped from the #7 childhood illness in 1990 to the #1 illness in 2000.
  • Sick building syndrome-- The air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. People spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, making the risks to their health greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.

 

 

Sources of Poor Indoor Air Quality:


  • Gases—formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds, secondhand cigarette smoke, nitrogen dioxide
  • Particles-- lead dust, asbestos, mold and mildew
  • Inadequate ventilation—insufficient replacement of polluted air with clean air
  • High temperature/humidity levels that can facilitate mold growth

 

 

Solutions to Poor Indoor Air Quality:


  • Use Zero/Low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and adhesives
  • Use HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration
  • Install a HVAC system that is appropriate for the size of the building
  • Adequate ventilation—install exhaust fans and windows to increase air exchange
  • Proper removal/remediation of existing mold, mildew, or lead dust
  • Moisture management and humidity control